MIAMI -- Jesse Chavez displayed improved command on Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately for the Blue Jays, that didn't lead to better results on the mound.
The Toronto right-hander struggled for the second consecutive start, and this time it cost the Blue Jays a shot at a three-game sweep in Miami.
Chavez surrendered a pair of costly home runs as his problems at the big league level continued in a 9-0 loss to the Marlins.
"I was little bit more relaxed going into it, knowing to trust my stuff," Chavez said following his second start of the year. "That's been the M.O. with me struggling in the big leagues, it's not being able to trust my stuff. Now that they've given me a chance, I'm able to trust it a lot more."
Chavez entered the outing looking to turn the page after a dismal starting debut in Milwaukee last week. During that start, Chavez battled control problems en route to surrendering four runs in just 2 2/3 innings.
Chavez was effective at times against the Marlins, but he was unable to execute in a pair of key situations that resulted in home runs.
Chavez got through the first inning unscathed, but pitched himself into trouble in the second. The native of California allowed the first two batters to reach before surrendering an RBI single to Scott Cousins for the game's first run.
Former Blue Jays catcher John Buck followed in the very next at-bat with a deep drive to left-center field. Buck's sixth homer of the season was a three-run shot that bounced off the Marlins' fountain to give Miami an early 4-0 lead.
Chavez settled down until the sixth. Logan Morrison led off the inning with a bunt single, and he eventually came around to score on a two-run shot by Greg Dobbs. Chavez finished out the inning, but didn't come back out for the seventh as he was charged with six runs on seven hits while striking out six.
"Just a couple of pitches. The cutter to Buck for the three-run homer, that kind of deflated us a little bit," Chavez said. "That was the one that kind of stung a little bit in that inning.
"I attacked the zone, kept away from the walks; it's just one of those things."
In a typical situation, Chavez likely would see his time in the rotation come to an end. But these circumstances are anything but typical, considering the Blue Jays have already lost Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison to the 15-day disabled list. The club is running out of starting candidates, and as a result, Chavez likely will have a relatively long leash.
Farrell gave Chavez a vote of confidence earlier in the week and seemed relatively pleased with his outing on Sunday, with the exception of a couple of crucial situations. That type of backing is something Chavez appreciates, but he admitted there is still a lot of pressure on him to come through.
"I'm not going to lie, it's in the back of my mind, knowing all I have to do is go out and just do what I was doing down in [Triple-A Las] Vegas," Chavez said. "I think today was a step in the right direction, even though the score didn't dictate it, but stuff-wise and bringing the confidence I have out there, it should come along."
While Chavez struggled, left-hander Mark Buerhle was relatively dominant for the Marlins. Buerhle didn't allow a run while surrendering seven hits and two walks and striking out seven in seven innings.
Toronto managed to put just two runners in scoring position against the veteran starter. The club's lone scoring opportunity came in the fifth, when Brett Lawrie was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton while attempting to score on a single by Colby Rasmus.
"I think it was just that we had good timely hitting, good pitching, great defense behind me," said Buehrle, whose team won for just the third time in 18 games. "I think it was just that everything was working for us. The last week or week and a half, it seems like we didn't put anything together. It was one of those days where everything kind of came together."
The loss meant the Blue Jays fell short in their bid to earn a second series sweep in Interleague Play this season. The club finished the Interleague schedule with a 9-9 record, and their nine-game, three-series road trip is set to continue on Monday night in Boston.
"When you look back at the early part of the ballgame, the first pitch to Buck was a big blow," Farrell said. "He tried to throw a cutter away from him, got out where he got extended and a three-run home run. But he settled down, he kept the game under control.
"The way Buehrle was pitching, though, we got some hits off him, but weren't really able to bunch too many together. A disappointing way to end this series, yet it's a series win on the road, and we have to regroup to head into Boston."