TORONTO – Big Pasta served up a lot of meatballs.
Right-handed pitcher Alfredo Simon, known as Big Pasta, surrendered four home runs over the first four innings on Sunday. The Tigers went on to lose, 9-2, at Rogers Centre and were swept by the Blue Jays over the three-game series.
Simon was just the latest pitcher to struggle against the potent Jays lineup.
The Tigers gave up 11 home runs in the series and were outscored, 29-6. They have lost nine of their last 10 and fell 10 games under .500.
“Well, we ran into the best offensive team in the league,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “In addition, they were swinging the bats extremely well and we didn’t pitch very well. So, that’s a not a good recipe.”
The Blue Jays have recorded sweeps in five of their last eight series, going 20-3 in that stretch. They hit four home runs in back-to-back games for the first time since Sept. 29-30, 2009.
“Certainly the best offensive team that we’ve seen,” Ausmus said of the Jays. “They can put up runs in a hurry and they did against us for three straight days.”
Simon allowed six runs on six hits and two walks over five innings with two strikeouts for the Tigers. He’s given up 14 runs over his last two starts since pitching a one-hitter against the Rangers on Aug. 20.
“He certainly cares, it has nothing to do with whether he cares or not,” Ausmus said. “He wants to go out there and win and he wants to shut the opposing hitters down, but other than that one start, it hasn’t worked much since the first month-and-a-half of the season.”
Simon gave up a one-out solo home run to Josh Donaldson and a two-out solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion — who hit three home runs in a 15-1 win on Saturday — in the first inning. Encarnacion’s latest home run was his 30th of the season and extended his hitting streak to 25 games.
Encarnacion joined Donaldson (36) and Jose Bautista (31) in reaching the 30-home run plateau this season.
Kevin Pillar hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give the Blue Jays a four-run cushion.
Simon gave up a leadoff double to Troy Tulowitzki and a one-out, two-run home run to Russell Martin in the fourth. That put the Tigers behind, 6-0. It was Martin’s 17th home run of the season and his second home run in as many days.
“They keep tacking on as the game goes on and we don’t seem to have a run right now in us, it just makes it difficult,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers were able to cut the deficit to 6-2.
Rajai Davis led off the sixth with a double. He advanced to third on a throwing error after Ian Kinsler lined out to Donaldson and scored when Miguel Cabrera grounded out to shortstop.
Victor Martinez led off with a walk in the seventh. Martinez advanced to third after Nick Castellanos doubled on a fly ball to the wall in center and came home when James McCann grounded out to shortstop.
Castellanos went 3-for-4 with two doubles for the Tigers.
Left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks over six innings with two strikeouts for the Blue Jays.
Right-handed pitcher Drew VerHagen pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Tigers, allowing two hits with two strikeouts.
Right-handed pitcher Bruce Rondon gave up two-run double to Ryan Goins and a two-out RBI single to Donaldson in the eighth that extended the Jays’ lead to 9-2.
Contact George Sipple: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @georgesipple.