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Izturis' clutch play edges Rox in pitchers' duel

Shortstop hits winning two-run single; Johnson tosses 7 1/3 scoreless

TORONTO -- When things are going well, everything seems to fall your way.

With the Blue Jays riding a five-game winning streak into Monday's contest, it was a bloop single that was all the difference.

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TORONTO -- When things are going well, everything seems to fall your way.

With the Blue Jays riding a five-game winning streak into Monday's contest, it was a bloop single that was all the difference.

View Full Game Coverage

Maicer Izturis broke open a scoreless game with the bloop to left in the eighth, accounting for both runs, as the Blue Jays defeated the Rockies, 2-0, at Rogers Centre.

"He didn't hit it hard, but he dunked it in the perfect spot," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the game-winning hit.

That hit punctuated an excellent outing for the Toronto shortstop, who also made a handful of fine defensive plays.

Among Izturis' best came in a crucial spot in the fifth. With a runner on second and Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson still nursing a shutout, Rockies shortstop Jonathan Herrera looked to have put the Rockies on the board with a single up the middle. However, Izturis made a diving play, and his throw nabbed Herrera at first to end the threat.

"The way he's playing now is what he's done his whole career," Gibbons said of Izturis, who is batting .345 with four RBIs over his last seven games. "He's showed more range in the field [recently, and made] a couple of nice plays."

His defense supported an excellent start from Johnson, who was also able to navigate his way out of trouble with the strikeout.

In the second, the Rockies put runners on the corners with no outs. Johnson then struck out Wilin Rosario and Tyler Colvin, before he induced a lazy fly ball from Nolan Arenado to come out of it unscathed.

"Just make pitches," Johnson said of his ability to tightrope out of jams. "That's the name of the game, is making pitches whenever you need to. I could feel it that first inning. I was just letting it go and not trying to force my slider to move. I was just trusting it and letting it go."

By the end of the night, the tall righty tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings with five hits, two walks, and 10 strikeouts, all of them of the swing-and-miss variety.

"He's definitely got some of the best stuff in the game -- big, tall, throws hard," said Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer. "When he's throwing strikes like that, it can be tough. His fastball was getting on guys. He pitched well."

"He had everything going on," Gibbons added. "Good live fastball, ball had a lot of jump on it, and a good breaking ball. He was attacking pretty good."

However, it could've been all for naught had it not been for Brett Cecil.

Johnson left the game with two runners in scoring position for the Blue Jays' lefty reliever. Cecil, who entered the game having retired 24 straight batters, got Carlos Gonzalez on his first pitch. Gonzalez absolutely drilled the ball, but it was right at Adam Lind at first, who snared it to keep the game scoreless.

Toronto then decided to intentionally walk the right-handed Cuddyer to face the left-handed-hitting Todd Helton. Helton found himself up 2-0 in the count, but would eventually hit a weak ground ball to second.

"He's pitching as good as anybody down there," Gibbons said of Cecil. "He's dominating left-handed hitters. So when Gonzalez comes to the plate, one of the premier run producers in the game, yeah, that was a no-brainer to me. Of course, then he gets Helton, too."

Jorge De La Rosa matched Johnson all evening.

In fact, De La Rosa carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing a single to Izturis. Up until then, the 32-year-old had faced only one batter over the minimum, with a pair of walks to Melky Cabrera the only blemishes.

De La Rosa tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only the single hit and three walks while striking out four.

"[Rosario and I] made a plan to pitch against those guys," De La Rosa said. "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."

"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 of the hard-luck loss.

With the victory, Toronto has now won six in a row and 10 of its last 13, moving within three games of .500. It's the longest such streak for the club since May 2011.

"Now we're winning. That's the fun part and the key thing," Johnson said of his club's fortunes. "You win games, and then everything else will take care of itself."

Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for

Toronto Blue Jays, Brett Cecil, Maicer Izturis, Josh Johnson