Anibal's short start hurts in fifth straight loss

Anibal's short start hurts in fifth straight loss

Anibal's short start hurts in fifth straight loss
MIAMI -- Despite their struggles, the Marlins generally could count on a consistent performance from Anibal Sanchez.

The right-hander, after all, had posted quality starts in 10 of his first 13 outings.

Friday was one of his rare nights to forget.

Sanchez endured his shortest start of the season, giving up six runs in 3 1/3 innings, and the Marlins' June misery continued in a 12-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Marlins Park.

"Today, I wanted to help the team," said Sanchez, who has lost six of his last seven decisions. "I know the situation right now and I know where the team is right now. I just want to do the best I can do all the time, but today especially, because I wanted to help the team dig out of the hole we are in now.

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"Like they say, tomorrow is another day. I know the team is going to work for it and we're going to start hitting, start keeping the games close like the beginning of the year and we're going to turn it around. Some point we're going to turn it around. Hopefully soon."

On a night they fell behind early, the Marlins did belt three home runs. Omar Infante connected on a two-run homer, while Giancarlo Stanton and Gaby Sanchez each delivered solo shots.

Jose Bautista homered and had three RBIs, while Brett Lawrie set the tone with a triple to open the game, and he collected three hits and scored four times.

Sanchez walked four and the Marlins combined to walk seven on a night they allowed 11 hits.

"When you combine walks with power, that's not a good combination, and that's what we did today," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said.

For a Marlins squad struggling in all phases, the series opener with the Blue Jays was more of the same.

Miami has dropped five straight and 14 of 16. In June, the club is 4-15, to go along with an overall Interleague mark of 4-12.

Early in the year, the pitching carried the club. Now, the hitting has shown some spark, but not on a steady basis.

"Nothing is there now," Stanton said. "That's pretty much the story. It's either nothing or one or the other. We've got to turn it on at the same time and be consistent, because this ain't how we need to play, at all."

After being so impressive in April and May, Miami's pitching has been smacked around. Six times since June 5, the Marlins have allowed at least 10 runs, including two of the last three games.

The few sparks the team had at the plate came when the team already was in a steep uphill climb.

In the fourth inning, Stanton lined a home run that clipped off the top of the wall in left field and landed in the Miami bullpen. But his 16th shot of the season, and second in as many nights, came with his team trailing, 6-0.

Infante's homer came in the seventh, and it was his first shot since May 8 against the Astros. Sanchez's homer was his first since April 26.

Hanley Ramirez added two singles and picked up his first RBI since June 3.

The few signs of life were not nearly enough, and the team finds itself playing similar style of games.

"The pattern is, if we're down early, there is no coming back," Stanton said. "In May, we still got down and won a lot of those games. There was a more confidence feel. Now, the kind of routine is we're down two or three early and there is no coming back. The energy, the fight, nothing is really there."

Anibal Sanchez's stint was his shortest since going 1 2/3 innings against the Braves on Aug. 10, 2011. In his 22 starts since, he hadn't gone fewer than five innings.

Three pitches into the game and the Blue Jays were set up nicely on Lawrie's triple down the right-field line. Colby Rasmus drove him home on a groundout to shortstop.

As the Marlins are searching for answers, the Blue Jays are beaming with confidence, according to manager John Farrell.

"They swung the bat with a lot of confidence," Farrell said. "They feel like they're going to walk into the ballpark, whether it's at home or on the road, and put up a good offensive night, and it's good to see that we're not just going up swinging at everything. We've had very good at-bats. We've worked the count and we've been able to put multiple hits together inside of a given inning."

In the third inning, Toronto tacked on two more runs, with the inning again being ignited by Lawrie, who singled. Bautista delivered a broken-bat RBI single, and Kelly Johnson lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

Sanchez's night ended in the fourth inning, as the Blue Jays tacked on three more runs.

Because Miami's starters have been in a drought of late, the team has relied heavily on long-reliever Chad Gaudin, who appeared for the eighth time in June, compared to nine appearances total in April and May.

To get out of the Marlins' downward slide, Guillen stressed that the starting pitching must lead the way.

"I think we've got great starters," Guillen said. "They've been pitching well, but obviously the last couple of starts they've struggled. But being in the game for a little while, that's going to happen."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.