Marlins use power stroke to rout Blue Jays
After beating the Toronto Blue Jays with his second complete game of the season, Florida right-hander Josh Johnson gave catcher Ronny Paulino all the credit.
Paulino hit two home runs, Johnson pitched a seven-hitter and the Marlins beat the Blue Jays 11-3 Sunday for a sweep.
"He's the star of the game right there," Johnson said of Paulino. "I pretty much just follow him. We're always on the same page and, if we're not, he pretty much goes right to what I'm thinking."
The Marlins took the three-game series and won their eighth in a row overall at Toronto. The Blue Jays lost their fourth straight and fell to 0-6 in interleague play. The three-game home skid is Toronto's first this season.
Paulino went 4 for 5, scoring three runs and driving in three with his first career multihomer game. He hit a two-run drive in the second inning and added a solo shot in the ninth.
Paulino said he's more focused on his duties behind the plate than at the plate, meaning any offensive contributions are a plus.
"When you have a game like that it's a bonus, when you catch and you hit," Paulino said.
Johnson (6-1) gave up seven hits and won his third straight decision. He struck out six and walked three.
"He was very consistent attacking the strike zone and his slider was working pretty well," Paulino said.
This was the third time the Marlins have swept Toronto in a three-game series. They did it in Miami in 2006 and at Toronto in 1997.
The sweep got the Marlins (32-33) back to within one game of .500 as they prepare for a three-game series at Boston on Tuesday. After that, it's home to face the New York Yankees and Baltimore before wrapping up interleague play with three games at Tampa Bay.
"It's huge," Johnson said. "It's a good start to the road trip and a good start to this tough stretch we have. Playing the AL East is not going to be fun but hopefully we can win some ballgames and keep rolling."
Florida had a season-high 18 hits and improved to 17-4 against the Blue Jays, including 10-2 in Toronto. Alex Rios and Kevin Millar homered for Toronto.
The Marlins took the lead in the second against Brian Tallet (4-4) when Wes Helms hit a sacrifice fly and Paulino followed with a home run.
Hanley Ramirez hit an RBI single in the third and Florida broke it open with a four-run fourth. Brett Carroll hit a two-run single, Emilio Bonifacio chased Tallet with an RBI single and Ramirez had a sacrifice fly off reliever Dirk Hayhurst.
Tallet (4-4) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in a season-low 3 1-3 innings. He became the second Blue Jays starter in as many days to not pitch past the fourth, following Casey Janssen, who lasted 3 2-3 innings in Saturday's 6-5 defeat.
Tallet called it "a really, really bad day at the office."
Rios hit a two-run homer in the fourth, his second in as many days, and Millar connected later in the inning to make it 8-3.
Johnson responded by setting down the next 11 batters, a stretch that ended with Aaron Hill's one-out single in the eighth. Vernon Wells followed with a walk but Johnson got Adam Lind to ground into a double play.
"Obviously it wasn't a great series for us all round, especially to play like this at home," Wells said. "It's disappointing."
Chris Coghlan drew a bases-loaded walk off Jesse Carlson in the seventh and Carroll scored on Brandon League's wild pitch in the ninth.
Wells went 0 for 3 with a walk and is hitless in 17 at-bats. He has not homered in 137 at-bats, the longest such drought of his career. ... Florida swept an AL opponent for the first time since May 18-20, 2007, at Tampa Bay. ... The Marlins are 15-7 against left-handed starters. ... Toronto announced the signing of 20 draft picks, including 1B Lance Durham, the son of former Chicago Cub Leon Durham, and SS Jonathan Fernandez, the son of former Blue Jays SS Tony Fernandez.