Blue Jays 1, Dodgers 0
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Toronto manager John Gibbons always thought Shaun Marcum was better suited to start than relieve.
The right-hander has proven him correct since he returned to the Blue Jays’ rotation.
Marcum (3-2) scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out three in 6 2-3 innings. He has allowed nine earned runs in 34 2-3 innings in his six starts since Victor Zambrano went on the disabled list with a strained right forearm.
“Back in spring training, I thought I was going to have a shot at the rotation, but they ended up getting Tomo (Ohka) and some other guys, so I was just happy to make the team at that point,” Marcum said. “A few weeks ago, I got into some struggles pitching out of the pen, and I think they felt that I would be better in the rotation where I could throw all my pitches.”
Marcum, who left his previous start because of tightness in his back, recorded his biggest out in the sixth when he retired Luis Gonzalez on a foul pop to third base to strand three. The Dodgers are just 13-for-60 this season with the bases loaded, and have lost two of their last five games by 1-0 scores.
Stairs, starting at first base while Lyle Overbay is on the disabled list, snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth with a two-out solo homer into the pavilion seats in right-center against Derek Lowe (6-6).
It was Stairs’ ninth this season, all in his last 22 games. On Friday night, he hit a tying home run off Dodgers closer Takashi Saito in the ninth before the Dodgers pulled out a 4-3 victory in the 10th on a two-run shot by pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz.
“Whenever Derek takes the mound, you hope to God he makes a mistake. He’s been like that his whole career,” Stairs said. “I was very fortunate he threw me a first-pitch slider for a ball and came back with a sinker that stayed up in the zone a little bit.”
Lowe went the distance, allowing four hits and no walks while striking out three. His sinker was in top form again—he got 17 of his 27 outs on grounders.
The right-hander has recorded all four of the Dodgers’ complete games since the start of last season—three of which were losses. The other was a victory over Seattle last June, the only complete game by the staff in 2006.
“It’s not frustrating at all. It’s part of the game,” Lowe said. “Throughout the season, you’re going to have tough losses, but there’s also going to be games where you don’t pitch well and win. These games are actually fun to pitch in because, concentration-wise, you know you have to be there every single pitch.”
Marcum took a five-hitter into the seventh before giving up a two-out single by Juan Pierre. Lowe followed with his second hit of the game, a dribbler up the third-base line that died on the grass.
Gibbons summoned Scott Downs from the bullpen, much to Marcum’s dismay, and Rafael Furcal beat out another dribbler to third baseman Troy Glaus, whose hurried throw to first was scooped out too late by Stairs. But Downs retired Tony Abreu on a grounder to short to end the threat.
“Accardo’s been doing great down there and he’s been up two days in a row, so I didn’t know if I was going to get sent out there again or not,” said Janssen, who has allowed two earned runs in his last 24 1-3 innings. “I’m just trying to stick to the basics and keep the ball down. I’m more of a contact pitcher, so I’ve just got to change speeds and try and attack the hitters as much as I can.”
Pierre, who entered Saturday with a .269 batting average and .297 on-base percentage, was dropped from the second spot in the order to the eight-hole and didn’t find out about it until the lineup card was posted in the clubhouse. He and Abreu, who batted second, had the Dodgers’ only two hits through the first five innings. Pierre beat out an infield single his first time up and Abreu doubled leading off the fourth.