As the losses continue to pile up, the Miami Marlins appear to be reaching their wits end.
The Marlins try to avoid a season-worst seventh consecutive defeat and 16th in 18 games Sunday when they conclude a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays, winners of six of eight.
Miami (33-38) has been downright awful over the course of its 2-15 slide, getting outscored 120-42 while batting .160 with runners in scoring position. The Marlins have gone 2 for 16 in such situations since Toronto came to town, and they were limited to a double and four singles in Saturday's 7-1 loss.
"It just seems like we're finding different ways to lose," starter Josh Johnson said. "That's pretty much what it boils down to."
Batting .292 during its 6-2 run, Toronto (37-34) broke things open with a six-run ninth inning. Edwin Encarnacion had the tiebreaking solo homer before Colby Rasmus hit a grand slam - his fourth long ball in six games.
"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."
Bad things have been happening for Mark Buehrle (5-8, 3.82 ERA), who is looking to avoid losing five consecutive outings for the first time since July 2-26, 2006. He's 0-4 with a 5.48 ERA this month.
The veteran left-hander surrendered season highs of six runs and three homers in five innings of Tuesday's 7-5 loss at Boston.
Buehrle, seeking a major league-record 25th interleague victory, has lasted longer than six innings just once during his current skid.
"I want to go deep into games, as deep as I can, but if you keep on getting hit around and giving up runs, it's going to get you out of the game pretty early," he told MLB's official website.
Besides pitching back at home, where he's allowed two runs or fewer in five of seven starts, Buehrle could benefit from facing the Blue Jays. While with the Chicago White Sox, Buehrle went 6-4 versus Toronto with a 2.64 ERA - his lowest career mark against any AL club.
Jose Bautista is the only active Blue Jays player to have taken Buehrle deep, going 7 for 22 with one homer in their matchups.
The 28-year-old right-hander was knocked around in his first big-league start Tuesday, yielding four runs, three hits and four walks over 2 2-3 innings of a 10-9 win at Milwaukee.
"It's challenging, there's no doubt about it," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said of the team's injury-plagued rotation. "But I'm sure if you sit with the other 29 GMs, they have their own challenges. Other teams have had their position players go down. At the end of the day, you just put your head down and accept the challenge and do what you can."
The Blue Jays, who entered this weekend having dropped eight straight in this series, have never swept the Marlins.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 16, 2012||Drew Hutchison||15-Day DL||Right UCL sprain|
|June 14, 2012||Kyle Drabek||15-Day DL||Sprained right elbow ligament|
|June 13, 2012||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 12, 2012||Brandon Morrow||Day-to-Day||Strained left oblique|
|June 07, 2012||Rajai Davis||Day-to-Day||Jammed left middle finger|
|May 21, 2012||Ben Francisco||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|June 16, 2012||Sandy Rosario||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
|May 23, 2012||Austin Kearns||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 23, 2012||Austin Kearns||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 19, 2012||Emilio Bonifacio||15-Day DL||Left thumb sprain|
|May 18, 2012||Emilio Bonifacio||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb sprain|
|May 04, 2012||Logan Morrison||Day-to-Day||Right knee soreness|
MIAMI (AP) -- The players-only meeting called by Hanley Ramirez after Saturday's loss seemed to make a difference.
Mark Buehrle pitched effectively for seven innings to become the winningest pitcher in interleague play, John Buck hit a three-run homer and the Miami Marlins snapped a six-game losing streak with a 9-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
"It must have been that meeting," Buehrle said. "All of the guys that spoke up did good today."
Greg Dobbs had a two-run homer among his three hits for the Marlins, winners for just the third time in 18 games.
"It's great to see that especially when they have a players' meeting," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I don't think it happened because of the meeting, but when you have a players' meeting and you act and play this way, that is something that is very positive. It's nice to see those guys having fun on the field."
Buehrle (6-8) gave up seven hits in winning his 25th interleague matchup, breaking a tie with Freddy Garcia . Buehrle struck out seven.
"I told them I wasn't a fan of having a meeting the day before I pitch because that puts more pressure on you," Buehrle joked.
Ramirez hit a two-run triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Logan Morrison to cap the scoring for the Marlins. It was their second shutout of the season.
"This is what we needed," Ramirez said. "I told them (Saturday) that we needed to relax, go little by little, inning by inning, and not try to do too much."
Toronto starter Jesse Chavez (0-1) allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings while striking out six.
"I attacked the zone and kept away from the walks," Chavez said. "I settled in (after the second inning) and had that one hiccup in the sixth but other than that I did OK. It was just one of those things."
Miami opened the scoring in the second inning after Dobbs led off with a single and Omar Infante doubled. Scott Cousins drove in Dobbs with a base hit before Buck's three-run home run to center field, his sixth of the season.
Brett Lawrie doubled with two outs in the fifth and tried to score on a base hit to right by Colby Rasmus , but Giancarlo Stanton threw out Lawrie at home preserving a 4-0 lead.
Dobbs' two-run home run stretched the lead to 6-0. He also singled twice in his first two at-bats.
Ramirez's triple came off reliever Robert Coello , who hit Austin Kearns with a pitch and walked Jose Reyes setting the stage for Ramirez.
"It's not about one guy, but Hanley is in the middle of the lineup who is a big guy for us and hopefully he will remember that swing," Guillen said.
Rajai Davis and Rasmus each had two of the eight hits for the Blue Jays, who left eight on base. Toronto was shut out for the first time since a 3-0 loss to Baltimore on April 25.
"It was a disappointing way to end this series, yet it's a series win on the road and we have to regroup and get ready to go into Boston," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.
NOTES: Following the game Toronto recalled 1B Adam Lind from Triple-A Las Vegas and reinstated OF Ben Francisco (left hamstring) from the 15-day disabled list and optioned 2B Mike McCoy and 1B David Cooper . RHP Sergio Santos (right shoulder) was moved to the 60-day DL. ... Buck has two home runs in his last three games after going without a home run in 24 straight. ... Reyes made a diving over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center field in the third inning and collided with Cousins on the play, taking a base hit away from Lawrie. Reyes injured his right shin on the play and a trainer tended to him, but he remained in the game. "I'm good," Reyes said. "When that happened I was a little scared for a moment, but when I stood up everything was good." ... Toronto RHP David Pauley made his team debut over the weekend after being claimed off waivers from the Angels and pitched two scoreless innings in relief in two appearances. ... The Blue Jays will send RHP Henderson Alvarez (3-6, 4.30 ERA) to the mound on Monday to begin a three-game home series against Boston, who will counter with LHP Felix Doubront (8-3, 4.31 ERA). RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-6, 5.16 ERA) will start for the Marlins as they host St. Louis for a three-game set. RHP Jake Westbrook (6-6, 3.38 ERA) will start for the Cardinals.