Marlins rookie Pérez strikes out nine, but Clement and Springer lead Toronto over Miami
MIAMI — Ernie Clement and George Springer hit consecutive RBI singles in the eighth inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Miami Marlins 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Yusei Kikuchi allowed two hits and struck out six in six innings to help Toronto even the series after falling 11-0 in the opener Monday night. The Blue Jays ended a 19-inning scoreless streak in the eighth against Tanner Scott (4-2).
Miami’s Luis Arraez went 1 for 4, dropping his major league-leading batting average to .398. The Marlins had won five in a row.
“These guys don’t quit,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “We’re right in the middle of a playoff spot. They understand there’s going to be ups and downs. Today was big. Huge win.”
Santiago Espinal had a pinch one-out double and Clement followed with a pinch RBI single. Clement advanced on centerfielder Garrett Hampson’s throw to the plate and raced home from second after Springer’s broken bat single to left.
“Guys were ready. It’s a credit to them for being ready and understanding the spots,” Schneider said. “Especially, for a guy like Ernie, who doesn’t play much.”
Yimi García (2-3) was the winner, pitching the seventh. Erik Swanson gave up Nick Fortes’ one-out double and Joey Wendle’s infield single in the eighth, and Tim Mayza relieved and retired pinch-hitter Jesús Sánchez on a 5-4-3 double play.
Jordan Romano closed with a scoreless ninth for his 21st save.
Kikuchi retired the first nine before Arraez’s leadoff single in the fourth. Arraez was quickly erased after Jorge Soler grounded into a double play.
“I felt all my pitches were working really well today,” Kikuchi said through a translator. “I don’t think it would have gone well if I were thinking about going deep into the game to save the bullpen. I was thinking about one pitch at a time and one batter at a time.”
Matt Chapman had two hits and walked for the Blue Jays.
“Obviously, we haven’t been able to score as many runs as we’d like lately but to be able to keep them from scoring runs going to the ninth with a two-run lead was big,” Chapman said.
Marlins rookie Eury Pérez limited Toronto to three hits and struck out nine in his eighth career start. The 20-year-old right-hander was lifted after 80 pitches.
“We talk about Arraez all the time but what this kid did against one of the better lineups in the league was really impressive to watch,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said.
Pérez gave up two of the hits to Chapman, who doubled and singled.
“He’s got really good stuff,” Chapman said. “I was able to stay through that off-speed pitch the first at bat and the second at bat, I jumped on a fastball. Just tried not to do too much with it.”
Blue Jays: 1B-DH Brandon Belt (left hamstring inflammation) ran the bases and hit off a machine before the game as he nears a return to the active list. … RHP Zac Pop (right hamstring strain) will make a rehab appearance with Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday.
Marlins: RHP Johnny Cueto (right biceps tightness) is scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Jacksonville on Thursday.
Toronto RHP Kevin Gausman (6-3, 3.01) will start the series finale Wednesday against RHP Sandy Alcantara (2-5, 4.97).