Rolen extends hitting streak to 25 games

Rolen extends hitting streak to 25 games

ST. PETERSBURG -- Scott Rolen continues to close in on a place in the Blue Jays' history book. On Wednesday night, he pulled a pitch from Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir down the left-field line for a fourth-inning double, extending his hitting streak to 25 games.

Rolen's run is the third-longest streak in Toronto history. One more game, and Rolen will match the 26-game streaks fashioned by John Olerud in 1993 and Shannon Stewart in '99. The longest streak by a Blue Jays player belongs to Shawn Green, who hit safely in 28 straight in 1999.

"I've been able to just be consistent," Rolen said this week. "I've always tried to stay with a process and approach, instead of a result-oriented philosophy of hitting. I go up there and I want to have a good at-bat. I want to put a good swing on a strike and leave it at that and see what happens."

Throughout Rolen's run, the third baseman has wasted little time in extending his streak. His latest double came in his second trip to the plate.

Nine times Rolen collected a hit in his first plate appearance, and 19 of the 24 hits to extend the streak came within his first three times in the batter's box. Only twice during the streak has Rolen waited until his final plate appearance to manage a hit. Entering Wednesday, Rolen was batting .380 with nine doubles and three home runs during the streak.

That type of consistency has been a staple of Rolen's offensive showing all season. Only four times this year has his average dipped below .300. Rolen bottomed out at .291 on April 22, and most recently, he dropped to .294 on June 5. That was three days before he went on his 25-game tear.

"He's just really stepped up," said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, who promoted Rolen to the cleanup spot on June 16. "He's hit .300 all year. He's been close to going under .300, but he comes up with that hit. Then, when I put him in that four spot, he really took off and has just done absolutely great."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.