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Cuddyer extends unique hitting streak

Cuddyer extends unique hitting streak

Cuddyer extends unique hitting streak

TORONTO -- Severely bruised ribs interrupted Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer's season, but they didn't break his consistent hitting approach.

Cuddyer singled off Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle in the first inning of Wednesday's 5-2 loss to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 games. It is the longest for a Rockies player since Matt Holliday went 17 straight in 2007. He finished 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.

A lot has happened during the streak. Cuddyer missed five games with the rib injury, but hit .348 in the six games between his return and Wednesday night. Cuddyer had also spent the last five games in the cleanup spot -- after the loss of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to a rib injury last week that will keep him out another 3-5 weeks.

Manager Walt Weiss tweaked the lineup on Wednesday, moving Carlos Gonzalez up one spot to No. 2 and Cuddyer to No. 3 against Buehrle, hoping to get an extra plate appearance for one, or both. Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with his NL-leading 21st home run. Wilin Rosario hit fourth and went 2-for-3 with a walk.

Nothing has fazed Cuddyer.

"You consistently try to put together a good at-bat, and I'm not worrying about the next at-bat or two at-bats away," Cuddyer said. "I'm worrying about that pitch. That's helping me focus, pitch for pitch. It takes a lot of work to continue to focus. You're going to have a season of 550, 600 at-bats. It's easy to look long term. What that does is it makes you deal with the grind a little bit easier.

"Think back when you went to school. The first day of school was all fun and everything, then you'd look and say, 'I've still got eight months left of school,' rather than just worrying about each and every day."

Also in the lineup on Wednesday was second baseman DJ LeMahieu in the leadoff spot, as Dexter Fowler sat for the second straight game because of a sore right ring finger (Weiss said he is getting better and will not need to go on the DL), and first baseman Jordan Pacheco and catcher Yorvit Torrealba. Rosario, the regular catcher, was the designated hitter.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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