TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays continue to wait for the return of third baseman Josh Donaldson from tightness in his left calf.
He did not play in the opener of the three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Friday night Kevin Huber Jersey , a 6-5 Toronto win, and he is not expected to play in the second game on Saturday at the Rogers Centre.
The Nationals (37-29) will start right-hander Max Scherzer (10-2, 2.00 ERA), and the Blue Jays (31-38) will start right-hander Marco Estrada (3-5, 4.33).
Scherzer is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight career starts against the Blue Jays.
A sixth-round draft pick by the Nationals in 2005, Estrada is 2-1 with a 4.34 ERA in six career starts against Washington.
Meanwhile, Yangervis Solarte, the player who often fills in at third for Donaldson when he is not playing shortstop or second base, did well Friday night.
Solarte hit two home runs against the Nationals — a two-run shot and a solo blast — and added a double. He became the ninth Blue Jays batter to hit home runs from each side of the plate in a game. It is the second time in his career that the switch-hitter has homered from each side of the plate in a game. He has 14 homers and 40 RBIs for the season.
By defeating Washington starter Gio Gonzalez, who allowed a season-high five runs in six-plus innings, the Blue Jays ended a streak of 11 straight losses when opposing a left-handed starter. It was the longest such streak in franchise history. Their previous long drought against left-handed starter was eight losses in a row in 1993.
Donaldson was eligible to return from the disabled list a week ago but has not played because he has been unable to run well enough during drills at the Rogers Centre on Thursday [url=]Tyler Boyd Jersey[/url] , an off-day in the schedule.
“I was here watching him (Thursday) when he was running the bases, and he still couldn’t cut it loose,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That’s all I’ve got. He’s feeling better, but he’s still a little bit hesitant.”
He has been on the DL since May 29. The Blue Jays are 6-9 in the games he has missed. He probably will need a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Buffalo before returning.
“I think he needs to go down and at least play a game and test it,” Gibbons said. “Game-like conditions. I think that would be smart.”
The Nationals lost first baseman Matt Adams when he took a pitch off his left index finger on a foul bunt attempt in the second inning. He finished the at-bat and struck out. He played in the field in the bottom of the second before being replaced by Mark Reynolds. The finger was swollen and will be re-evaluated Saturday.
“It’s just part of the game, stuff like this happens,” Adams said. “Come in tomorrow and get some treatment and see how it feels.”
The Nationals did have some good news from the game Friday. Daniel Murphy picked up his first hit of the season, an RBI single in the eighth. It was his third game after being sidelined following right knee surgery.
The Nationals came back Friday with two runs in the eighth after falling behind 6-3 in the seventh and had the potential tying run at third in the ninth.
“I like the way that we didn’t give up, came back, and we had a chance to tie the game at the end,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling knows he will have to weather the early going Sunday if he wants to get back to his winning ways.
Stripling will face a Colorado Rockies team that is known for fast starts. The Rockies lead all of baseball with 70 runs scored in the opening inning. They also lead the majors with 24 first-inning home runs.
The Rockies are focused on trying to counter the Dodgers’ offensive muscle. Manager Bud Black is preaching to his pitchers to be aggressive.
“We knew coming in (the Dodgers) had power Andrew Billings Jersey ,” Black said. “We know that you have to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate. We have been attacking them and going after them to get into more favorable counts. That’s the message we send to all teams and we have to do it again (Sunday).”
Keeping opponents in check early is one of the many things Stripling has excelled at during his breakout season. The Texas native has allowed one first-inning run in his 11 previous starts, and two extra-base hits.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis also must prepare for a potential volatile first inning. Not only do the Rockies score a ton early, they also have given up 70 runs in the first inning to lead the majors. Their 21 first-inning home runs allowed are second-most in baseball.
The good news for Colorado is that they are on the road where runs and long balls are harder to come by than at Coors Field. And Bettis is the perfect example.
Bettis 5-1 overall with a 5.07 ERA, with all his decisions coming on the road, where he has a 2.72 ERA. At the start of play Saturday, Bettis’ five road victories were tied for third in the NL. He posted his sixth quality start on the road Tuesday at San Francisco, but did not get a decision.
There is added pressure on Bettis after the Rockies demoted Opening Day starter Jon Gray to Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. In 17 starts this season, Gray was a disappointing 7-7 with a 5.77 ERA.
“This was the right time to get Jon to Triple-A to work on some things, not so much mechanically, but mentally, and to realize the inconsistencies that have been happening this season Mason Crosby Jersey ,” manager Bud Black told The Denver Post after the Rockies optioned Gray.
Stripling has been a bit more consistent.
In his past three outings, he is 1-1 with a no-decision. He beat the Giants, then lost to the Cubs despite giving up only three runs on June 20. Six days later, he went five innings and gave up one run in the no-decision.
“He’s been fantastic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of his starter. “For him to not be as sharp as usual and to keep (the Cubs) to one run in five innings is a credit to him. He gives us a chance every single time he takes the mound. He’s done more than exceed our expectations.”
After rolling through most of June behind an offense that hit a franchise-record 55 home runs for a single month, the Dodgers have looked less invincible in recent days. They split a four-game home series against the Cubs and now have lost two consecutive games to the Rockies.
The Rockies will not look back at their overall June play so fondly, but they ended the month on a three-game win streak.
Colorado went 11-16 in the month. Nolan Arenado was a bright spot as he is the reigning NL Player of the Week. Arenado had home runs in seven of 10 games before play Saturday, a run that included a homer in four consecutive contests.