Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - An early offensive outburst backed a solid start by Shelby Miller, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.
Jonny Gomes hit a three-run double in the first inning, and his sacrifice fly two innings later bounced Toronto starter Daniel Norris from the game early.
Norris (1-1) allowed all five Atlanta runs -- four earned -- on six hits and two walks in just 2 2/3 innings with a strikeout. Marco Estrada, Jeff Francis and Roberto Osuna combined to silence the Braves over the final 6 1/3 innings.
"I'm going through a bit of a dead-arm phase," said Norris.
The Blue Jays got both of their runs on Russell Martin's double off Miller (2-0) in the sixth inning. Miller allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in six innings with six strikeouts.
Norris was in trouble from the start, but quickly recorded two outs when Cameron Maybin was caught stealing after Alberto Callaspo struck out. The next three Atlanta hitters reached base before Gomes hit a pitched in the air to center field. Dalton Pompey misplayed it and the ball landed over the head of the leaping outfielder, scoring all three runners.
"Scoring early on the road is pretty good when they get the last at-bat, so it was pretty nice to get on the board early," said Gomes.
In the bottom of the first, Miller hit leadoff batter Devon Travis in the ribs. He briefly stayed in the game but left after experiencing more discomfort sliding into first base on a pickoff attempt.
More shaky play in center field from Pompey cost Toronto again in the third. Freddie Freeman was going first-to-third on Chris Johnson's single, and Pompey's throw to get Freeman sailed over everyone, allowing Freeman to score and Johnson to advance to third base. Gomes drove in Johnson, and Toronto went to its bullpen.
The trio of Blue Jays relievers gave their offense a chance to get back in the game. Estrada, Francis and Osuna combined to strike out five and only allowed one runner to reach scoring position. That runner, Gomes, was promptly picked off by the catcher Martin.
Miller was cruising. Only one runner reached second base before the sixth inning when he got into trouble with two outs. He walked Jose Bautista and allowed an Edwin Encarnacion single before Martin doubled them home. Justin Smoak then walked, but Kevin Pillar flew out to end the inning.
Over the final three innings, the Blue Jays did not fare any better against the Atlanta bullpen. Encarnacion walked with two outs in the eighth, but that was all they could muster. Jason Grilli recorded a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts to earn his sixth save of the season and the series win for Atlanta.
Freeman was penciled in as the designated hitter for the first time in his career ... Atlanta's Nick Markakis reached base 11 times in the three-game series ... Toronto is 2-5 on its 10-game homestand ... Each team will be off Monday before Toronto finishes its homestand with a three-game series against Baltimore and Atlanta travels to New York to play the Mets.