The San Francisco Giants’ rotation came into the weekend tied for the majors’ best ERA and hasn’t disappointed in its first two outings of this series in Toronto.
The Blue Jays’ staff - aided by their lineup’s penchant for clutch hits - has been a little bit better.
Both Barry Zito(notes) and Matt Cain(notes) have been good in their respective starts at Rogers Centre, but the Blue Jays’ Brandon Morrow(notes) and Jesse Litsch(notes) have kept right up. Morrow allowed two runs over six innings Friday, keeping Toronto (38-31) even until Edwin Encarnacion’s(notes) tiebreaking homer in the eighth, and it was Aaron Hill’s(notes) turn for some late heroics Saturday.
Litsch matched zeroes with Cain for seven innings before Hill, batting just .194, hit a two-run homer off Cain in the eighth. That was the key blow in the Blue Jays’ 3-0 victory over San Francisco, which came into the series with a 3.21 ERA from its starters.
“They’ve done that all year, hit the long ball,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the Jays, who lead the majors with 105 homers. “That’s what’s beat us the last two games.”
San Francisco (37-30) has allowed 48 homers - among the fewest in the majors - but 30 have come on the road. The Giants are 3-13 when they give up one or more away from home.
Three of the five homers Sanchez (5-5, 2.78 ERA) has allowed came in one start in early May, and making any sort of contact against the left-hander has proven difficult. His .202 opponents’ average is one of the five lowest in baseball.
Sanchez, who has never started against the Giants, gave up two runs over 7 2-3 innings Monday in a 10-2 victory over Baltimore to win for the third time in four outings.
“I was pretty comfortable out there,” Sanchez told the Giants’ official website. “When you get a couple runs, you can just go out there and relax.”
Marcum (6-3, 3.31) will look to follow Morrow and Litsch’s lead, and he’s been one of the AL’s more effective starters. Marcum opened June with back-to-back losses against Tampa Bay, allowing 12 runs and 20 hits in 12 1-3 innings, but bounced back Monday by holding San Diego to two earned runs over seven innings in a 6-3 win.
He escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh, exiting just before an earthquake shook Petco Park in the bottom of the eighth.
“(I needed to) get out of there with some damage control and try to get out of there with the lead,” Marcum said of his trouble in the seventh.
The right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA since May 1 against teams other than Tampa Bay, and he’s been at his best this season in day games. Marcum, who has never faced San Francisco, is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in seven afternoon starts.
Renteria, who has missed 43 games with separate injuries, was out with a strained hamstring before playing Saturday for the first time since May 25. Renteria’s eighth-inning double improved his career average in 16 games at Rogers Centre to .354.
A loss would end San Francisco’s interleague road schedule at 0-6.