Blue Jays find a new way to lose vs. Dodgers, drop seventh straight
Toronto Blue Jays Rajai Davis beats the throw to Los Angeles Dodgers Mark Ellis to steal second base during the eigth inning of their MLB inter-league baseball game Wednesday July 24, 2013 in Toronto. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker)
Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:23PM EDT
TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays were perilously close to ending their losing streak. Then they discovered a new way to lose.
With the Blue Jays a strike away from their first victory since July 13, the ball bounced over the head of centre fielder Colby Rasmus, allowing the Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig to cross the plate and tie the score. An implosion by reliable reliever Juan Perez in the 10th inning sealed the Blue Jays' seventh straight loss, 8-3 to the Dodgers on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
When closer Casey Janssen entered the game in the ninth to protect a one-run lead, it looked like Toronto finally had a winning recipe. Starter Esmil Rogers worked his way out of several jams, and the offence manufactured the go-ahead run in the eighth.
But in a season that has grown increasingly frustrating, Rasmus' error provided another chapter. Andre Ethier lined a 1-2 pitch to centre, and it hopped over Rasmus' head, scoring Puig from first.
When the Blue Jays couldn't bail Rasmus out, the vaunted bullpen fell apart for the second straight night. One of the team's lone bright spots blew a five-run lead Tuesday, and on Wednesday Perez had his nearly-perfect season hit a roadblock.
Perez, who entered with a 0.00 ERA, allowed a walk and then a two-run home run to Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis. It was just the start of an unravelling inning.
Puig homered to break the game open, and later Ethier hit a two-run double to send fans streaming to the exits.
Rasmus' error was one of five total in the game, and it cost all-star Steve Delabar a victory and Janssen his 19th save of the season.
Toronto was on the edge of falling apart a handful of times early in the night, but Rogers worked some magic to escape trouble. He allowed two base runners to reach before recording an out in four straight innings.
Yet the Dodgers managed to score just two runs in the process. Rogers induced one inning-ending double play, struck out four and limited the damage by walking just one Los Angeles batter.
One error by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion didn't prove costly, and Cabrera's catch to end the seventh got Rogers out of more trouble and assured he wouldn't be saddled with the loss.
Rogers finished with two earned runs on 10 hits, throwing 73 of his 104 pitches for strikes and stranding 11 runners.
Meanwhile, Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco shined despite less-than-perfect command. The Dodgers' starter faced the minimum through three innings and didn't allow a Blue Jays runner past first base until the fifth inning.
Then the Blue Jays took advantage of two walks in the fifth. Third baseman Brett Lawrie, who entered the night hitting .206 and whose struggles were a major point of discussion during Anthopoulos' pregame remarks, broke up the no-hitter by doubling off the centre-field fence and driving in two runs to tie the score.
Left-fielder Melky Cabrera started a go-ahead rally in the eighth inning with an infield single. Pinch-runner Rajai Davis stole second and looked to advance to third on Jose Bautista's groundout.
When Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez couldn't connect on a throw to reliever Ronald Belisario covering the bag, Davis scored without a problem. The Blue Jays couldn't tack on an insurance run that would have proved valuable.