Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista powered the Toronto Blue Jays past the Milwaukee Brewers last night at Miller Park. The two look for an encore performance this afternoon in the series finale.
Rasmus and Bautista hit back-to-back homers in the sixth and ninth inning on Tuesday to even this Brew City series with a 10-9 win, while Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion also went deep for the Blue Jays.
Bautista scored three times on the night and has 10 home runs in his last 16 games. The slugger has reached base safely in 19 consecutive contests, collecting 10 homers and 20 RBI over that period. Bautista and Encarnacion have combined to hit 41 home runs this season as well.
Rasmus, meanwhile, scored a pair of runs and has five homers and 10 runs batted in through his previous nine games. He is 22-for-63 with four doubles, six home runs and 14 RBI over his last 14 games, and spoke of Toronto's resiliency this season.
"I think that's just the fight we have in us," said Rasmus. "From Spring Training, we just try to keep that thing going and not let anything beat us down. I think that helped us out tonight."
J.P. Arencibia had three hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Blue Jays, who have won four of five since losing three straight and six of seven. The Jays also bounced back from a 7-6 loss to Milwaukee in the series opener.
Jesse Chavez made his first major league start for a decimated Toronto rotation and lasted only 2 2/3 innings, giving up four runs and three hits. Darren Oliver benefited from the home run barrage and picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief, and Casey Janssen followed with a solid frame for his seventh save.
With starters Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Brandon Morrow and Dustin McGowan all on the disabled list, Toronto recalled righty Joel Carreno to make the start this afternoon.
Carreno started the year in the Jays' rotation, but lost his only start and has pitched to a 4.50 ERA in five appearances this season.
The Blue Jays are 1-1 so far on a 10-day, nine-game road trip and still have Miami and Boston on the upcoming docket.
Milwaukee had won three of four games, but lost for the fifth time in eight tries with Tuesday's loss. Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam for his second homer is as many games, and owns four homers and 10 RBI in his last six games. He has 10 grand slams in his career.
Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun had an RBI and two runs scored apiece for the Brewers, who will hit the road to Chicago (White Sox) and Cincinnati following today's game. Braun is riding a 14-game hitting streak and has a 24-game run going in interleague play.
Milwaukee starter Tyler Thornburg made his major league debut in place of Shaun Marcum, who was sidelined with tightness in his right elbow, and allowed five runs on seven hits with no walks over 5 1/3 innings.
"I don't feel too bad considering I gave up seven hits and didn't walk any one. They got four big hits and that was the key. I just ran out of gas," said Thornburg. "I still shouldn't have left some balls up like that, but that will happen with good hitters."
Closer John Axford absorbed the loss for giving up consecutive homers to Rasmus and Bautista in the ninth inning.
Yovani Gallardo looks to get Milwaukee on track when he takes the mound Wednesday, and he is 5-5 with a 4.23 earned run average in 14 starts. He has won three of his past four decisions, but did not factor in the outcome of a 5-3 win at Minnesota the last time out on Friday. Gallardo struck out seven batters, allowed three runs and eight hits and walked two in six innings.
The right-hander is 2-2 in seven starts at home this season and has never faced the Blue Jays.
Milwaukee swept the Jays in three games the last time these two clubs met from June 17-19, 2008 at Miller Park.