Rasmus, Encarnacion power Blue Jays past Marlins
The Marlins gave the Toronto Blue Jays one too many opportunities in the ninth inning.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a tiebreaking homer and Colby Rasmus had a grand slam later in the ninth, lifting the Blue Jays to a 7-1 win over Miami on Saturday.
"Obviously, Eddie's swing to lead off the ninth gave us a margin of one," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But a couple of walks, a hit batter and obviously Colby's grand slam was the big blow."
Encarnacion led off the ninth with his 21st home run off Steve Cishek (4-1) to break a 1-all tie.
"It was huge," Rasmus said. "He's been unbelievable, but there's no 'I' in team, it takes everybody. He got a good pitch over the plate and lined it over the fence. That helped us, for sure."
After Jeff Mathis laid down a bunt that Cishek mishandled allowing Kelly Johnson to score for a 3-1 lead, Rasmus connected on his third career grand slam off Edward Mujica.
The Blue Jays scored six times and sent 11 batters to the plate while breaking it open in the ninth.
"Offensively, we came to life in a matter if three or four hitters," Farrell said.
Darren Oliver (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth for the Blue Jays, who have won six of eight.
Miami has lost six straight and 15 of 17 overall.
"Right now we should be embarrassed," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We played tight. I think we are waiting for something bad to happen. This game is about making things happen, not to make the bad thing happen. The only way you survive out of this is get your head out of your butt and start playing."
The Marlins wasted a strong outing by starter Josh Johnson, who allowed just one run and two hits in seven innings while striking out seven and walking two. Johnson is 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in his last nine starts.
"It just seems like we're finding different ways to lose," Johnson said. "That's pretty much what it boils down to."
Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil allowed one run and five hits in six innings.
"I wouldn't say my stuff wasn't there, but at times the fastball location wasn't there," Cecil said. "I did have some tough times, but it's almost better than having great stuff and throwing a complete game shutout — it shows what type of person you are and how much character you have."
The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead in the second without recording a hit. Encarnacion and Johnson walked to open the inning followed by a sacrifice by Yunel Escobar. Rajai Davis also laid down a successful bunt that allowed Encarnacion to score as the throw home was not in time.
Escobar got Toronto's first hit, leading off the fifth with a single to left. Davis followed with another single. With two outs, Brett Lawrie hit a deep fly to centre field, which was caught by Justin Ruggiano in spectacular fashion. Ruggiano caught it while diving toward the centre field wall to rob Lawrie of an extra-base hit and prevented both runs from scoring.
"J.J. battled today like the ace he is," Ruggiano said. "When a guy is pitching like that, I'll sell out my body for him. He did a hell of a job and for his sake I was glad I was able to make that catch."
Ruggiano provided a spark in the lineup as well. He led off the seventh with a bunt single and scored on a double by Omar Infante down the left field line, tying the game at 1 and ending Cecil's outing.
Jason Frasor relieved Cecil and retired the next three batters, including striking out Greg Dobbs to end the inning leaving Infante stranded at third.
"The biggest inning probably is Frasor's inning, coming in with nobody out, the go-ahead run on second base, and he goes 1-2-3," Farrell said.