Blue Jays Roll Another 11

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Aug. 13)

What is it about the Toronto Blue Jays and eleven–game win streaks? On five occasions in the past 28 years, the ball club has strung together 11 victories. Not once, has it captured No. 12. Could that finally happen on Friday night in the biggest game of the 2015 season thus far? With David Price pitching against the second–place New York Yankees at Rogers Centre? We’ll find out in short order.

As for now, the Blue Jays are surely content with their latest 11–game run, which began here in town Aug. 2 against Kansas City and has included series–sweeps of Minnesota, New York and Oakland. A 4–2 victory over the Athletics at the ‘Dome on Thursday afternoon ensured the Jays would remain atop the American League East when the Yankees arrive on Friday for a three–game weekend set. The hottest and (right now) the best team in the Major Leagues improved its record to 14–1 since July 29, the day after general manager Alex Anthopoulos acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki from Colorado and the day beforeAnthopoulos obtained Price from Detroit. Safe to say Toronto’s trade–deadline enhancement has worked out rather well thus far. Do ya think?

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MY PHOTO OF BLUE JAYS PITCHER MARK BUEHRLE ACKNOWLEDGING CHEERS AT ROGERS CENTRE UPON LEAVING THURSDAY’S GAME AGAINST OAKLAND AFTER SEVEN TERRIFIC INNINGS. HE IS NOW 13–5 ON THE SEASON WITH A 3.31 ERA. AND THIS GUY’S GONNA RETIRE?

The Blue Jays became, on Thursday, the first Major League team to win 11 consecutive games twice in the same season since the 1954 Cleveland Indians. Toronto also did it from June 2–14. For the record, the ’54 Indians finished 111–43 but lost in the World Series to the New York (now San Francisco) Giants. The Blue Jays also had 11–game streaks in 1987 (June 2–13); 1998 (Aug. 27 to Sep. 7) and 2013 (June 11–24).

I accompanied my trusty NIKON to the Toronto–Oakland game Thursday:

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THERE WERE A FEW CLOUDS OVER–TOP DOWNTOWN TORONTO BEFORE THE GAME…

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BUT IT WAS JUST PERFECT WHEN MARK BUEHRLE THREW THE FIRST PITCH AT 12:37 P.M.

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THE VETERAN LEFTY ?? HAD IT GOING ALL AFTERNOON… AS HE HAS ALL SEASON.

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OAKLAND’S FIRST BATTER — CENTER–FIELDER BILLY BURNS — WAS INITIALLY CREDITED WITH A DOUBLE DOWN THE LEFT–FIELD LINE. BUT, HE STOOD TALKING TO RYAN GOINS (LEFT) WHILE THE UMPIRES REVIEWED THE PLAY. ULTIMATELY, IT WAS RULED BURNS’ BALL WAS INCHES FOUL, WHICH BROUGHT A’s MANAGER BOB MELVIN OUT FOR A QUICK CHAT.

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OAKLAND STARTER JESSE CHAVEZ, WHO MADE NINE APPEARANCES FOR THE BLUE JAYS IN 2012, WAS ALSO GOOD ON THURSDAY WITH NINE STRIKE–OUTS AND NO WALKS. BUT, HIS DAY WAS RUINED BY ONE LONG BALL FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE.

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THE ROGERS CENTRE ERUPTED (LEFT) AFTER SHORTSTOP RYAN GOINS TOOK CHAVEZ OVER THE RIGHT–FIELD FENCE FOR A THREE–RUN HOMER IN THE SECOND INNING — JUST HIS FOURTH OF THE SEASON. GOINS PLAYED FOR TROY TULOWITZKI, WHO WAS GIVEN THE AFTERNOON OFF BY MANAGER JOHN GIBBONS. JUSTIN SMOAK AND CLIFF PENNINGTON CELEBRATED WITH GOINS (RIGHT) AND TORONTO HAD ALL THE RUNS IT WOULD NEED (BELOW) WHEN PENNINGTON FOLLOWED HIM TO THE PLATE.

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A PAIR OF JOSH’S — DONALDSON OF THE BLUE JAYS AND FORMER TEAMMATE REDDICK OF THE A’s — LAUGHED IT UP OVER SOMETHING WITH REDDICK ON THIRD.

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DONALDSON HAD A RARE STRUGGLE AT THE PLATE ?? GOING 0–FOR–4 WITH TWO K’s.

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THE MATINEE CROWD WAS ANNOUNCED AS A SELL–OUT — 46,902 — BUT THERE WERE A NUMBER OF EMPTY SEATS ?? IN THE UPPER DECKS ABOVE LEFT AND RIGHT–FIELD.

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AS DONALDSON, GOINS, PENNINGTON AND SMOAK LOOKED ON, BUEHRLE HANDED THE BALL TO GIBBONS AFTER A RUN–SCORING TRIPLE IN THE TOP OF THE EIGHTH. THE CROWD STOOD FOR BUEHRLE (BOTTOM–LEFT), WHO DEPARTED WITH THE GAME WELL IN HAND.

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AARON SANCHEZ ENTERED THE GAME TO REPLACE BUEHRLE.

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FORMER BLUE JAY DANNY VALENCIA CAME TO BAT AGAINST SANCHEZ…

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AND STRUCK OUT (BELOW) TO END THE INNING.

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BLUE JAYS FANS HAD LOADS OF FUN AT THE BALLPARK ON THURSDAY.

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A PAIR OF CATCHERS: DIONER NAVARRO OF THE BLUE JAYS PLAYED FOR RUSSELL MARTIN, WHO GOT THE DAY OFF. JOSH PHEGLEY WENT 0–FOR–3 AT THE PLATE FOR OAKLAND.

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VIEW FROM DOWN THE FIRST–BASE LINE LATE IN THE BALL GAME.

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EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE THE BLUE JAYS RIGHT NOW — FROM REAL BIRDS ATOP A LIGHT–POLE OUTSIDE THE STADIUM (ABOVE) TO BOMBERS SOARING OVER THE ‘DOME (BELOW).

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THERE WERE NEW TORONTO FANS AND OLD OAKLAND FANS…

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BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS AND TALL CONDOMINIUMS…

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BUT, WE’RE STILL TWO MONTHS AWAY FROM THE BOYS OF WINTER.

AS FOR THE YANKEES…

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NEW YORK WILL COME TO TORONTO STILL ONE–HALF GAME BEHIND THE FIRST–PLACE BLUE JAYS AFTER WINNING AT CLEVELAND ON THURSDAY NIGHT. I WILL BE AT ROGERS CENTRE FRIDAY NIGHT (WITH TRUSTY NIKON) FOR DAVID PRICE vs. THE YANKEES. FOX SPORTS/INDIANS

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EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

TWITTER: BERGER_BYTES

FACEBOOK: HOWARD BERGER [HUMBER COLLEGE]

LINKEDIN: HOWARD BERGER [BROADCAST MEDIA]

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