TORONTO (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Marlins appear to be turning their season around, having won their last three series.
On Monday they’ll run into a team that has also playing very well lately.
In order to continue playing their best baseball of the season, the Toronto Blue Jays need to turn it around against a team they rarely face yet frequently struggle against.
The Marlins play the first of three games Monday night at Rogers Centre, where they’ve never lost a series.
The Blue Jays (28-30) extended their winning streak to a season-best five with Sunday’s 7-6 home win over Houston. They completed the three-game sweep in dramatic fashion with three runs in the ninth, capped by Chris Colabello’s walk-off two-run single.
The hit extended Colabello’s career-best hitting streak to 17 games – the longest active run in the majors.
“There has to be one or two guys like that – whether it’s in the pitching staff, the bullpen, or a guy like Chris, who consistently is able to give you something that you did not expect,” starting pitcher R.A. Dickey told MLB’s official website. “I couldn’t imagine where we’d be without a guy like that.”
Jose Bautista hit a pair of solo homers, giving him four in four games. He went 3 for 4 and is batting .405 on an 11-game hitting streak that’s two shy of a career best.
“He’s more in his comfort zone,” said manager John Gibbons, whose club is averaging 7.00 runs and batting .310 on the streak. “But it was just a matter of time.”
Edwin Encarnacion was sidelined after the slugger left Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. He received a cortisone shot, but no decision has been made on when he’ll return.
The Marlins (24-33) have won 10 of 12 meetings in Toronto and all four series for their top winning percentage (.833) at any ballpark, and their 18-6 record against the Blue Jays accounts for their top winning percentage (.750) against any team.
The clubs last met in June 2012 in Miami with Toronto taking two of three for its first series win against the Marlins, though the .250 winning percentage stands as its worst against any team.
The Marlins have also won consecutive series after taking two of three in Colorado. Adeiny Hechavarria homered in the top of the 10th in Sunday’s 3-2 victory.
Toronto’s starting staff has also gotten it done with a 1.76 ERA in six games, which right-hander Marco Estrada will try to continue.
Estrada (2-3, 3.77 ERA) helped start the streak with a 7-3 win in Washington on Tuesday in the second game of a doubleheader. He allowed three runs – two earned – and six hits in six innings for his first win in six starts since joining the rotation.
As a starter, he’s 1-2 with a 7.20 ERA in four outings against the Marlins, including a 9-5 loss on May 23, 2014, in which he allowed four homers. Giancarlo Stanton hit two of them and is 2 for 8 against Estrada.
He’ll be opposed by Brad Hand, who is making his third start after appearing out of the bullpen 14 times. Hand (1-1, 4.24) earned his first win in Tuesday’s 5-2 home victory over the Chicago Cubs, surrendering two runs and six hits in six innings.
He’s never faced Toronto, but Jose Reyes is 2 for 4 with a home run off the left-hander. Reyes hasn’t faced the Marlins since they traded him after the 2012 season, but he’s batting .343 on a 15-game hitting streak against them.
That 12-player deal also sent Hechavarria to Miami.
“I think if you judge it fairly, it was a good baseball trade for both that probably was unfairly and overly scrutinized at the time because it appeared that the Marlins were throwing in the towel when, in truthfulness, we were hitting the reset button,” said Marlins manager Dan Jennings, who was assistant general manager at the time.
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)