Tallet struggles as Jays drop finale
Toronto starter gives up eight runs over 3 1/3 innings
TORONTO -- It wasn't the home run by catcher Ronny Paulino that did left-hander Brian Tallet in, but a series of base hits that Tallet just couldn't stop.
A string of singles that loaded the bases with no one out in the fourth inning brought pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to the mound to try to fix whatever problem Tallet might have had. But that didn't help, and after allowing another pair of base hits, Tallet's day was over.
Tallet was coming off his best outing of the season in a 9-0 win over the Rangers on Tuesday, but struggled with his command on Sunday as the Marlins pounded the Jays, 11-3, at Rogers Centre. The loss completed a sweep at the hands of Florida, as Toronto has yet to win a game in two Interleague series this year.
In his last start, Tallet easily handled a potent Texas offense in a ballpark that is unforgiving to pitchers, limiting the Rangers to two hits and two walks over seven shutout innings while the Jays' offense put up nine runs.
On Sunday, though, Tallet gave up four runs in three shaky innings and was pulled after a four-run outburst by the Marlins in the fourth inning. The Jays scored three runs in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Tallet gave up a total of eight runs on 10 hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings -- his worst start since giving up 10 runs in four innings on April 29 in Kansas City.
"You've got to find a way to eliminate these kinds of starts because it just puts your offense in such a hole," Tallet said. "If it's a 4-0 game and they score those three runs, now it's 4-3. Now we're in a battle. But at eight to nothing, you score three runs -- we've still got a just a gargantuan mountain to climb."
With Florida ahead, 4-0, in the fourth inning, Tallet gave up three consecutive line drives to left field. All of them went for singles, loading the bases with no one out. Another base hit, this one to center field, cashed two runs.
Tallet got Marlins left fielder Chris Coghlan to ground out to second base before allowing another single, this one to third baseman Emilio Bonifacio. That sent Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston to the mound to bring Tallet's outing to an end. By the time Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez had hit a sacrifice fly off right-hander Dirk Hayhurst that scored a runner inherited from Tallet, the Marlins had put up four runs in the frame.
Tallet only gave up one extra-base hit in the contest -- Paulino's two-run homer in the second -- but the Marlins piled up more than enough singles to chase Tallet early.
"He didn't have good location at all today," Gaston said of Tallet's outing. "Everything seemed like it was up in the middle of the plate, and they didn't miss too many of them."
Tallet's poor start comes at the end of what has been a tough series for the Jays -- the rotation in particular. Right-hander Casey Janssen lasted only 3 2/3 innings on Saturday, giving up five runs in the loss, and ace Roy Halladay left in the fourth inning on Friday due to an injury. He is considered day-to-day with a mild strained right groin.
"With the big guy going down and possibly missing a start, every single one of us has to step up and do our job -- get the ball to the bullpen with a lead," Tallet said. "Today, I wasn't able to do that, and that's what happens when you miss over the plate. ... Good hitters hit those pitches -- bad hitters hit those pitches."
While the Jays managed to score nine runs in support of Tallet in his last start, they could not do the same with Josh Johnson on the hill for the Marlins on Sunday. The Jays notched only seven hits against the right-hander -- three in the third inning, the other four scattered throughout Johnson's complete-game effort.
"He throws hard," center fielder Vernon Wells said. "Everything's hard -- fastball's hard, slider's hard. You see a couple of changeups here and there, but he's got good stuff."
The Jays' only runs against Johnson came on a pair of homers in the fourth inning. Third baseman Scott Rolen hit a one-out single to center field before right fielder Alex Rios came to the plate. Johnson got ahead of Rios with a 1-2 count, but Rios squared up on a changeup and sent it over the left-field wall for a two-run shot, decreasing the Marlins' lead to 8-2.
Two batters later, designated hitter Kevin Millar hit a 97-mph fastball from Johnson to nearly the same spot in left field for a solo home run.
That was the kind of heat the Jays had to face from Johnson, and they did so with little success. Johnson's fastball averaged around 94-95 mph, touching 98.
"He didn't stay all the time, but when he needed to get there, he got there," Gaston said of Johnson's velocity.
The loss put an end to a disappointing home series with the Marlins. The Jays now head into Philadelphia to begin a six-game road trip against the Phillies and Nationals starting Tuesday.
"To go out there and have a showing like this is not good for the team -- not good for the team morale," Tallet said. "We've got to shake this off ... and go into Philly with a little chip on our shoulder, and show them that we can play ball -- we can be very good, and we're going to be good."
Erika Gilbert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.