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TOR@ATL: Rasmus drives in three, makes stellar catch

ATLANTA -- Turner Field has been a house of horrors for the Blue Jays since 2009. Entering Sunday's series finale, they had lost eight straight in the home of the Braves and scored just 12 runs in the process.

The Blue Jays exorcised their demons, scoring six times in the fifth inning as they beat the Braves, 12-4, to salvage one game of their weekend series in Atlanta. The Blue Jays pounded out a season-high 18 hits, which was also the most given up in a game by the Braves this season.

The Blue Jays' offense was slow to start, getting just one baserunner in the first four innings against rookie right-hander Julio Teheran, who is regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. In the fifth inning, however, Toronto's offense came alive.

Second baseman Kelly Johnson led off the inning with a single, the Blue Jays' second hit of the game. From there, the Blue Jays locked in offensively. Three batters later, pinch-hitter Yan Gomes chased Teheran with an RBI single.

"[Gomes] gets a curveball that he just dropped into left field and [it] seemed to open up the floodgates a little bit," manager John Farrell said. "You can't say enough about the way the offense continued to respond."

With the bases loaded and one out, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez brought on right-hander Livan Hernandez, but he wasn't able to stop the rally. The Blue Jays greeted him with four straight RBI hits, good enough to take a 6-4 lead.

"It was like we were just trying to get the next guy up," third baseman Brett Lawrie said. "And it wasn't doubles, it wasn't triples. It was just putting the bat on the ball and just putting it into play."

After the fifth, the Blue Jays kept piling on, starting again in the sixth inning. A two-out hit by reliever Carlos Villanueva gave the Blue Jays their first hit by a pitcher this year and extended the inning for Lawrie. He didn't waste the opportunity, driving a 66-mph curveball from Hernandez into the left-field seats for his fifth home run of the season. Lawrie said he was expecting Hernandez to throw an offspeed pitch and was able to stay back on the slow curveball.

"I knew it wasn't going to be firm, it wasn't going to be plus-plus," Lawrie said. "It was going to be offspeed or something to try and get me out front, and I just caught it on a good part of the bat."

Center fielder Colby Rasmus followed Lawrie's blast with one of his own, giving the Blue Jays back-to-back home runs for the second time this season. It was Rasmus' eighth home run of the year.

Rasmus went 3-for-6 and was a triple shy of the cycle, despite not getting a hit until the fifth inning. Lawrie went 2-for-5 with a walk and snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a fifth-inning single.

"To see Brett and Colby again at the top of the order have the days that they did, that's very encouraging," Farrell said.

Toronto's offense bailed out left-hander Ricky Romero, who allowed four runs over four innings, his shortest start of the season. It was the third straight start that Romero allowed four runs.

Romero threw just 69 pitches, but said he understood getting pulled for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning. At the time, the Blue Jays were trailing, 4-0, and had the bases loaded with one out.

"That's what happens when you play in the National League," Romero said. "You're forced to kind of make moves like that. I'm glad it worked out for us and we were able to get the win."

While Romero put the Blue Jays in an early hole, the bullpen was able to hold the lead once it took over in the fifth inning. Carlos Villanueva, Darren Oliver, Chad Beck and Casey Janssen combined for five scoreless innings, allowing Toronto to pull away for an easy victory. With the win, the Blue Jays snapped out of a three-game funk in which they struggled to produce runs. Farrell said an improvement in the team's approach at the plate was the reason for the offensive outburst.

"We stayed inside a number of fastballs that we used the middle of the field and the other way," Farrell said. "We were able to string together not only the six runs, but it continued on through the middle and the later part of the game."

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