MIAMI -- Marco Estrada walked a tightrope of bases-loaded trouble early Saturday with little consequence.The next time the Blue Jays' veteran found himself surrounded by Marlins on the bases, there was no escape in a 6-3 loss at Marlins Park.Martin Prado, in his first game off the disabled list, applied
MIAMI -- Marco Estrada walked a tightrope of bases-loaded trouble early Saturday with little consequence.
The next time the Blue Jays' veteran found himself surrounded by Marlins on the bases, there was no escape in a 6-3 loss at Marlins Park.
Martin Prado, in his first game off the disabled list, applied the crowning blow with a three-run double off the wall in center to finish Estrada's night after 4 1/3 innings. That came after Estrada served a bases-loaded walk to Brian Anderson.
Justin Smoak, who won Friday's game with a ninth-inning grand slam, hit a two-run homer again in the ninth. But the Blue Jays couldn't complete the comeback against Miami reliever Tayron Guerrero.
"Our starting pitching has been getting hit around pretty good the last week to 10 days, putting us behind the 8 ball," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It's hard to come back each night."
Estrada, whose start had been in question due to back soreness that has bothered him for several weeks, exited after allowing six runs and eight hits. Two walks in the fifth contributed to his departure.
"Obviously, it's not fun. I haven't been pitching well lately. It just sucks letting the team down," said Estrada, who has allowed 11 runs in 6 1/3 innings over his past two starts.
The Blue Jays managed only three hits and one run in eight innings off Wei-Yin Chen, a former American League East rival with Baltimore who is putting together his most effective season in Miami, his third with the Marlins.
Estrada, meanwhile, followed a rough August in which he gave up 18 earned runs and 26 hits in 26 1/3 innings over five starts. That included eight home runs allowed.
He gave up another on Saturday to J.T. Realmuto in the third, an opposite-field drive to right-center that traveled a projected 411 feet, according to Statcast™.
Regarding how much of Estrada's trouble may be physical, Gibbons said, "He's good enough to pitch. A little bit rusty. Usually you can tell early in the game when you get a lot of swings and misses on his changeup, throwing the fastball by guys. They battled him pretty good and he wasn't getting that."
Estrada got off to a shaky start, allowing a leadoff double to JT Riddle and facing the bases loaded with no outs in the first.
He had Randal Grichuk to thank for escaping with only one run crossing the plate in the inning. Grichuk made a leaping catch against the right-field wall to take an extra-base hit away from Anderson, who settled for a sacrifice fly, and also ran down a foul fly near the stands.
Devon Travis, the West Palm Beach, Fla., native playing a series in Miami for the first time in the Majors, had two hits, including a double off Chen.
"He did a really good job, commanded the inside of the plate really well," Travis said. "He's really good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
In the fifth inning, the Blue Jays challenged for fan interference after a fan reached out of the stands along the left-field line for a foul ball that eluded left fielder Teoscar Hernandez. The call on the field of a foul ball was confirmed. Prado followed with a three-run double that broke the game open and ended Estrada's night.
"He hung around and then they loaded the bases," Gibbons said. "We thought we might have had an interference call, but we didn't get it. Then the big double by Prado. Prado's hit him before in the past. That was too much to overcome."
• The Blue Jays tied a franchise high of utilizing 34 pitchers this season with Christopher Guerrieri and Jose Fernandez, called up earlier in the day, making their Major League debuts. Guerrieri allowed one hit and struck out one over two scoreless innings, while Fernandez tossed a scoreless eighth.
• Smoak has homered in four consecutive games. It comes on the heels of teammate Kendrys Morales setting a Blue Jays record with homers in seven consecutive games.
"He saw his buddy Morales do it and I guess he wants to do it, too," GIbbons said. "That was a bomb tonight. He's had another good year for us."
HE SAID IT
"It's not an excuse. I'm out there. I'm trying to make good pitches. It's just not going my way right now. -- Estrada, on how back soreness is affecting his pitching
Sean Reid-Foley, the Blue Jays' No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, returns after a brief time back in Triple-A for Sunday's start and will be seeking improvement on his introduction to the Major Leagues last month when he gave up 11 runs (nine earned) and 13 hits in 9 1/3 innings over two starts. The Blue Jays will face Marlins prospect Jeff Brigham, making his Major League debut in place of Pablo Lopez, who went on the disabled list Saturday with a season-ending shoulder strain. First pitch for the series finale is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.
*Craig Davis *is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami.