Six-run first vs. Fish sparks Jays' 6th straight win
By Jamie Ross and Dhiren Mahiban
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays rode an explosive six-run first inning all the way to an 11-3 series-opening victory over the Marlins at Rogers Centre on Monday night.
All nine Blue Jays batters came to the plate in the first frame, as they knocked Marlins starter Brad Hand from the game after only two-thirds of an inning. The left-hander allowed six hits and six earned runs with one walk before he got the hook.
The Blue Jays added a run in the second and fifth frames before going off for three more in the seventh en route to their sixth straight win. Josh Donaldson, who homered in the second and had three RBIs, Kevin Pillar and Danny Valencia came through with multi-hit efforts for the Blue Jays, while Chris Colabello singled to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. All nine batters in Toronto's starting lineup registered hits on the night, providing more than enough support for Marco Estrada, who cruised to his third win of the season. The right-hander lasted seven innings while allowing three earned runs with six strikeouts.
"Our offense is one of the best out there, and when we score like this, it's hard to beat us," Estrada said. "That [big first] inning, they were asking me if I wanted to go inside, because you can sit for a while and tighten up. It's awesome watching these guys swing the bat."
Giancarlo Stanton delivered a two-run shot to put the Marlins on the board in the fourth before he doubled and scored in the sixth, providing the only resistance the Marlins had to offer.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED First-inning blowout:Munenori Kawasaki's double was the sixth hit of the Blue Jays' six-run first, prompting Marlins manager Dan Jennings to lift Hand after only two-thirds of an inning. The Blue Jays amassed four singles, two doubles and a walk to jump out to the six-run early lead on their way to their 10th game of 10 or more runs this season, which matches their entire total from last season. They've outscored the opposition 46-16 during their current win streak.
"Hitting in the bottom of the lineup, it's always fun to get up in the first inning," said Pillar, who has recorded multiple hits in four of his last six games, going 10-for-23 over that span. "It means we've got runners on base, we've scored some runs, but more importantly, it's huge for our pitcher. He gets to go out there and pound the zone. It's awesome to give a guy a huge lead."
Going deep: Stanton took Estrada deep to center field for a two-run shot in the fourth. The home run gave Stanton 19 on the season -- tying him for first in the Majors with Washington's Bryce Harper and Seattle's Nelson Cruz.
"Giancarlo puts it in the seats, puts up a crooked number there in the fourth and we get a little momentum going back," Jennings said.
The 25-year-old later doubled and scored in the sixth, accounting for all of the Marlins' offense. Stanton finished 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles.
Out of Hand: Hand endured the shortest start of his career, and the six earned runs he allowed were two more than he gave up over his previous 17 1/3 innings over the course of seven appearances.
"I mean, you can't leave your bullpen out to dry like that in the first day of the series," said Hand, who was coming off back-to-back solid starts since joining the rotation. "Can't even make it out of the first inning. You never want that, but I left too many pitches up."
Colabello's streak continues: Chris Colabello isn't ready to let his hit streak die just yet. His RBI single, which opened the scoring in the first, was his lone hit of the game. That made it 18 consecutive games in which he's registered at least one hit, giving him the longest active streak in the Majors and the second longest this season. Since 2009, only Scott Rolen (25 games) has hit safely in more consecutive games for the Blue Jays.
"Guys are enjoying spending time with each other, playing whiffle ball, playing soccer before the game. There's no surprise we're winning games. Everyone is playing for each other." -- Pillar, on the effects of the Blue Jays' winning streak
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With their six-run first inning, the Blue Jays now lead the Major Leagues with 21 innings of four or more runs.
The Blue Jays have scored at least six runs in six straight games, the first time they've done so since May 4-10, 2000.
GIBBONS TOSSED ON BIRTHDAY
Happy birthday to John Gibbons. The Blue Jays manager was tossed in the second inning on his 53rd birthday after he came out of the dugout to argue a third-strike call against Jose Bautista. First-base umpire Angel Hernandez rang up Bautista on check-swing third strike, prompting a long run out of the dugout for Gibbons, who was ejected for the first time this season.
"I think it was his body language, reacting to the check swing and Angel tossed him," Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale said. "I don't know what he said to him when he went out."
WHAT'S NEXT Marlins: Right-hander Dan Haren gets the start for the Marlins on Tuesday at 7:07 p.m. ET. The 34-year-old is 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts this season. Haren is 8-3 with a 4.99 ERA in 12 career starts against the Blue Jays. He enters Tuesday looking for his third consecutive win after picking up the decision in a 7-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
Blue JaysMark Buehrle will get the start for the Blue Jays. The veteran lefty suited up for the Marlins in 2012, going 13-13 with a 3.74 ERA before being traded to the Blue Jays the next season. Buehrle has thrown back-to-back complete games, allowing four earned runs on 12 hits over those 18 innings. The club is also expecting the return of Edwin Encarnacion, who missed the last two games with a sore left shoulder.