De La Rosa on short end of pitchers' duel in loss
Lefty carries no-hitter into sixth, leaves after seven with bruised finger
TORONTO -- Jorge De La Rosa left the Rockies' training room with a bemused expression and a hint of discoloration on his left thumb Monday night.
"My hand hates me," said De La Rosa, who expects to make his next start.
De La Rosa, who was limited to five innings in each of his last two starts because of a cut left middle finger, held the Blue Jays to one hit -- which came in the sixth -- in seven innings before the thumb forced him from the game. However, Maicer Izturis, who broke up the no-hitter, blooped a two-run single off Matt Belisle to give the Jays their sixth straight victory, 2-0, at Rogers Centre in front of 20,946.
The Rockies entered Monday's Interleague contest -- the opener of a 10-game, three-city road trip -- a half-game back of the D-backs in the National League West. Pitching like De La Rosa provided can keep them in contention. It was needed, because Jays starter Josh Johnson was dominant in a different way, with 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
"It was just one of those games where the team that found a way to score was going to win the game, with the way it was pitched," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
But bullpen leaks like those that have sprung recently by the usually dependable Belisle (4-4), who three times in his last four games has given up two runs, must be plugged. The Rockies tend to limit their starters to somewhere around 100 pitches -- although Weiss might have gone further with De La Rosa if not for the injury -- and the team needs a bullpen in good working order.
Belisle lamented the slider he left over the plate to eighth-inning leadoff man Rajai Davis, and he walked Colby Rasmus after Davis stole second. No other ball was struck hard, not even Izturis' game-winner.
"This game's tough, but I'm tougher," Belisle said. "I can't stand to lose, cannot stand to not do my job. But if I show negativity and drag that on, it's impeding what I do the next day."
De La Rosa, who struck out four, pitched around three walks and forced seven groundouts, suffered the injury throwing a four-seam fastball -- a pitch he added this year -- in the fourth inning. Catcher Wilin Rosario, remembering the elbow surgery that cost De La Rosa most of 2011 and nearly all of last season, said he noticed the problem right away and told De La Rosa he would lobby to get him removed if he thought the bruise was causing De La Rosa to change his delivery and put his arm at risk.
But De La Rosa responded by holding the red-hot Blue Jays scoreless and nearly hitless, and he made it through 95 pitches.
"I was talking with Wilin before the game, and we made a plan to pitch against those guys," said De La Rosa, who added that the bruise occurred on a two-seam fastball, a pitch he added to his mix this year. "That's why I threw a lot of breaking balls, and when I was behind in the count, I threw a lot of changeups. That's why I made those quick outs."
De La Rosa also benefited from several big defensive plays, including second baseman DJ LeMahieu's leaping grab of an Izturis' liner in the third, shortstop Jonathan Herrera's diving play on a Jose Bautista grounder for a forceout in the fourth, and third baseman Nolan Arenado's backhanded grab of Mark DeRosa's liner to start a double play to end the seventh.
"He was pretty uncomfortable the last couple of innings he was out there, but he threw the ball well tonight," Weiss said.
However, so did Josh Johnson, who struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings, with his best pitching coming in the tightest moments.
The Rockies had runners at first and third with no outs in the second before Johnson fanned Rosario and Tyler Colvin and forced Arenado to fly out to right. Johnson also forced a Herrera grounder to end the fifth with a man on second, and forced Todd Helton into an infield pop-up to end the sixth with men at the corners.
"Now we're winning," said Johnson, who was out from late April to early June with right triceps inflammation and had Monday's start backed up two days because of a right middle finger blister. "That's the fun part and the key thing. You win games, and then everything else will take care of itself."
Johnson and reliever Brett Cecil (3-0) combined to hold the Rockies 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Jays first baseman Adam Lind bailed Cecil out by snagging Carlos Gonzalez's line drive with two on and one out in the eighth. The reliever ended the inning inducing a groundout from Helton.
Casey Janssen (15th save) walked Colvin with one out in the ninth, but forced Arenado into a game-ending double-play grounder.