The Blue Jays go for a seventh straight victory at Rogers Centre when they continue a three-game series with the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
Toronto (54-54) is 32-20 at home this season and has outscored opponents 41-9 during its current run there while posting a stifling 1.50 ERA. Roy Halladay struck out nine in Friday’s opener and Aaron Hill doubled in the go-ahead run after a Texas error to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-4 win.
Vernon Wells went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored twice to help Toronto bounce back from a 2-4 road trip during which it scored a total of 15 runs.
“It’s been a tough last week with a lack of run support for the pitchers,” Hill said. “It was just good to show some energy, show some life and get things going.”
Marcum (7-4, 3.67 ERA) hopes to get some of that support as he tries to win a career-high third straight start when he takes the mound for Toronto. The right-hander began the season in the bullpen, but joined the starting rotation on May 13 and has gone 6-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 starts.
He limited the Chicago White Sox to one run and two hits over a career-high tying eight innings in a 4-1 victory on Sunday. Marcum, who didn’t issue a walk and struck out eight, has limited opponents to four or fewer hits in seven of his 15 starts.
“Does he have pretty good stuff or what?” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That forkball he pitches he can throw it at any time. That’s a pretty good recipe. He’s got a feel for what he is doing.”
Marcum is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in four career games, including one start, versus the Rangers.
Texas (48-61) has lost five of its last seven games following a four-game winning streak. Ian Kinsler went 2-for-3 with three RBIs on Friday for the Rangers, who fell to 5-3 against the Blue Jays.
Willie Eyre (3-3, 3.88) is starting after scheduled starter Kameron Loe was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with stiffness in his lower back, and manager Ron Washington decided to not use Mike Wood, who had thrown 81 pitches in a victory with Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday.
“I’ve battled this kind of stuff before,” Loe said. “It usually clears up in two to three days. This one is going to take a little longer. Being a tall guy, I have lower-back issues every once in a while.”
Eyre will be making just his second career start in 72 appearances. His other start came June 26, when he allowed three runs in 4 2-3 innings against the Detroit Tigers and did not factor in the decision. The right-hander has made three relief appearances against the Blue Jays this season, giving up two runs in 7 2-3 innings and recorded a three-inning save May 4.
Lifetime, Eyre has no record and a 1.50 ERA in five relief appearances versus Toronto, spanning 12 innings.