Smoak’s pinch-hit slam lifts Blue Jays over Marlins 6-5
MIAMI (AP) — Justin Smoak’s first career pinch-hit homer was one memorable drive.
Smoak capped Toronto’s five-run ninth inning with a grand slam, sending the Blue Jays to a 6-5 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
“It’s awesome, man,” Smoak said. “In that situation, down the whole game, to be able to come big for your team, it’s what it’s all about.”
Toronto trailed 5-1 heading into the ninth. The Blue Jays loaded the bases on Danny Jansen’s one-out infield single before the Marlins replaced Kyle Barraclough with Drew Steckenrider (4-4).
Aledmys Diaz then struck out looking, but Devon Travis forced in a run with a walk and Smoak drove Steckenrider’s 0-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 22nd homer.
It was Smoak’s second slam this season and No. 3 for his career. It was the first pinch-hit grand slam for Toronto since Reed Johnson accomplished the feat against Boston on July 1, 2005.
“I had no clue who he was, I’ve never faced him before,” Smoak said. “Down 0-2, honestly I was trying to battle there. I put a good swing there.”
Joe Biagini (3-7) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Ken Giles worked a shaky ninth for his 19th save. Miami put two runners on before Austin Dean fouled out and Magneuris Sierra lined to left, ending the game.
After the game was over, Toronto announced it had traded slugger Josh Donaldson and cash considerations to Cleveland for a player to be named. Donaldson, who won the AL MVP award in 2015, has been limited to 36 games this season because of injuries.
Miami wasted a solid performance by Dan Straily in its fourth consecutive loss. Starlin Castro went 3 for 3 for the Marlins, and Brian Anderson doubled and walked twice.
Straily allowed four hits, struck out four and walked one in eight innings. He pitched six scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory over NL East-leading Atlanta in his previous start.
“This is a tough one to take,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Dan pitched a quality game all day and then to just not be able to close it out there. Obviously, frustrating for everyone.”
Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez was charged with five runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. It was his second start after missing two months because of a contusion on his right index finger.
The Marlins jumped in front with three runs in the fourth. Derek Dietrich and J.T. Riddle had run-scoring singles, and Dean drove in Castro with a groundout.
RBI singles for J.T. Realmuto and Castro extended the lead to 5-0 in the fifth.
WALK THIS WAY
It took 93 plate appearances but the speedy Sierra reached on a walk for the first time since he was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans on July 24. He was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Straily struck out to end the fourth inning.
Toronto slugger Kendrys Morales lost his bat on a swing-and-miss in the sixth inning, with the lumber flying high above the Blue Jays dugout. The elevated netting prevented the bat from landing in the stands.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (back) joined the team in Miami and manager John Gibbons confirmed he will start the second game of the series Saturday.
Marlins: OF Garrett Cooper had right wrist surgery. Cooper, the Marlins’ opening-day right fielder, originally hurt his wrist when he was hit by a pitch in the second game of the season. He returned July 6 before having another setback 10 days later.
Blue Jays: Estrada (7-10, 5.18 ERA) lasted two innings in his previous start against Philadelphia on Sunday.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-9, 4.91 ERA) is 4-3 with a 1.86 ERA in 11 home starts this season.