Marlins bust out to back Buehrle, halt slide

Marlins bust out to back Buehrle, halt slide

Marlins bust out to back Buehrle, halt slide
MIAMI -- Actions spoke louder than words for the Marlins on Sunday afternoon, as the club responded with a decisive win a day after an uplifting players-only meeting.

Backed by John Buck's three-run homer and Greg Dobbs' two-run shot, the Marlins blanked the Blue Jays, 9-0, and snapped their six-game losing streak in front of 27,888 at Marlins Park.

Hanley Ramirez chipped in with a two-run triple, and Mark Buehrle struck out seven over seven shutout innings in becoming the winningest pitcher in Interleague Play.

Miami's second shutout victory of the season improved the club's mark to 5-16 in June, and gave the team a desperate sense of relief.

"It must have been that meeting yesterday," Buehrle said half-jokingly. "All the guys who spoke up did good today. I think it was just that we had good timely hitting, good pitching and great defense behind me."

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Coincidence or not, the Marlins rebounded from a sloppy 7-1 drubbing on Saturday, which prompted Ramirez to call for a players-only meeting.

"I think it's the best players meeting I've ever been involved with, because of the amount of people getting involved with it," Buck said. "The things that Hanley said to get it started, I think it resonated with quite a few guys. So what it did is it gave us that mood of, 'Let's go and let it all hang out at the beginning of the game.' That started us out good from the beginning of the game."

At a time the Marlins are looking for someone to step up, they received it from their centerpiece player.

"I think it definitely showed some leadership and some of the things that needed to be said," Buck said. "His timing was sincere. There was nothing premeditated about it or for show. It was perfectly said at a time that we needed to hear it. And it happened and needed to be heard from that person. It was good."

Ramirez, Buck, Dobbs and Carlos Zambrano were among the players who spoke up at Saturday's gathering inside the team's clubhouse.

"It was tough," Ramirez said. "But sometimes you have to take if off your chest and say what you're feeling. I wanted to hear everybody's opinions. Everybody said something. We put it together.

"It's hard when you're struggling. I'm not used to that. I'm fighting my way through that. I'm never going to get my head down, never. At the same time, you see young guys, it's hard. When you are not doing good, you might get sent down, you might get traded. I think you cannot think of that. You've just got to think about the game today and what you can do on the field."

On the field, the Marlins slugged their way against a team that had outscored them, 19-6, heading into Sunday.

Buck set an early tone with a three-run homer in the second inning off Jesse Chavez.

"Just a couple of pitches," Chavez said. "The cutter to Buck for the three-run homer, that kind of deflated us a little bit. That was the one that kind of stung a little bit in that inning."

The Marlins scored more than five runs for the first time since beating the Giants, 7-6, on May 25 -- a span of 26 games.

There was a mild scare in the third inning when shortstop Jose Reyes was shaken up after colliding with center fielder Scott Cousins on Brett Lawrie's fly ball.

Reyes was clipped on the right shin, and he was on the ground in pain a few seconds before walking it off.

"I'm good," said Reyes, who made a terrific catch. "When that happened, I was a little scared for a moment. But everything was good."

On this day, not much went against the Marlins.

Even during the losing streak, manager Ozzie Guillen remained upbeat.

"I don't care what people say. I'm the one running this bull," the manager said. "If I'm panicking, we're in trouble. If I panic, the coaches panic and players panic, we're in trouble. This has happened to me before. We have experience with it. We just have to stay with our chin up."

The Marlins played with emotion, energy and smarts.

In the second inning, Toronto employed a shift on the left-handed-hitting Dobbs, who countered by slapping a ground ball single to third. Omar Infante doubled to left, putting runners on second and third. Cousins laced an RBI single to left.

The crushing shot was Buck's three-run blast that landed in the 73-foot Home Run Sculpture.

"It's good to get a win, and by a good margin," Buck said. "Hopefully we catch that contagious aspect of it."

In the sixth inning, Logan Morrison took what the defense was giving, and it helped set up a two-run inning. The Blue Jays used an infield shift for the left-handed-hitting Morrison. Leading off the inning, Morrison dropped a bunt single down the third-base line. Miami combined the bunt with a blast and gained a comfortable lead. Dobbs connected on a two-run homer to right.

Defensively, Buehrle was aided by two outfield assists.

In the second inning, Rajai Davis attempted to tag and move to second on Kelly Johnson's fly ball to left. But Morrison made a strong throw, nabbing Davis. And in the fifth inning, Lawrie doubled with two outs, and he was thrown out at home by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton on Colby Rasmus' single.

"I think it was just that everything was working for us," Buehrle said. "The last week or week and a half, it seems like we didn't put anything together. It was one of those days where everything kind of came together."

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.