Blue Jays’ bats can’t make up for thin pitching

Toronto’s pitching staff remains desperately short-handed and the Blue Jays weren’t able to hit their way out of trouble this time.

Milwaukee 8 Toronto 3

MILWAUKEE — Toronto’s pitching staff remains desperately short-handed and the Blue Jays weren’t able to hit their way out of trouble this time.

With injuries testing the depth of the rotation, emergency starter Joel Carreno gave up three home runs in a five-run second inning and the Blue Jays lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3 on Wednesday.

Carreno (0-2) took the loss shortly after being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas.

“It’s not the ideal situation when you have to take an overnight flight in here,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.

“That’s the circumstances we’re in. We’re not going to use that as an excuse. It’s not the ideal situation.”

Despite rallying in the ninth to win Tuesday night, Toronto lost two out of three games to Milwaukee. The Blue Jays also lost third baseman Brett Lawrie, who left the game with right knee soreness — although Farrell said the move was precautionary and Lawrie didn’t think he would have to sit out.

“It’s OK,” Lawrie said.

“It’s not bad. It’s not enough to make me not play. At the same time, I just thought that it was time to throw some ice on it. Obviously, tomorrow we have an off day which is good. We can treat it tomorrow, ice it all day. I’ll be back in there on the next day.”

And despite the injury issues on the Blue Jays’ pitching staff, Lawrie said there isn’t undue pressure on the offence.

“I think all series there was a combined 16 home runs and we had 10 of them,” Lawrie said.

“So it’s right there, we’re swinging the bats well. (We’ve) got to continue what we’re doing and move on to Miami.”

Edwin Encarnacion hit his 20th home run of the season for the Blue Jays, a solo shot in the second.

Yovani Gallardo (6-5) went 6 2-3 innings for Milwaukee, giving up three runs and seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.

Gallardo’s outing provided some much-needed rest for Milwaukee’s overworked bullpen.

The second-inning fireworks were provided by Martin Maldonado and Carlos Gomez, who each hit two-run homers, and Corey Hart, who added a solo shot.

Ryan Braun extended his hitting streak to 15 games — and 25 games in interleague play — with a double in the third, then hit his 20th homer in the seventh. Braun appeared to hurt his right hand when he was thrown out at home in the third, but stayed in the game.

Milwaukee then took the lead in the bottom half of the inning, beginning with Hart’s solo homer and then the two-run homer by Maldonado. Gallardo followed with a double over the head of centre fielder Colby Rasmus before Gomez homered to left, giving the Brewers a 5-1 lead.

Aaron Laffey came on in relief in the fourth after Carreno gave up five hits and five runs — all on the three homers — in three innings. With three starters injured, the Blue Jays turned to Carreno, a right-hander making his second career start.

Milwaukee added another run in the sixth when Gomez walked, stole second base and scored on a bloop single by Nyjer Morgan that fell just inside the right-field line.

Gallardo cruised through the first two outs of the seventh, then gave up a single to David Cooper, a walk to Lawrie and an RBI double to Colby Rasmus to cut Milwaukee’s lead to 6-2. Gallardo left the game to warm applause from the crowd and was relieved by Tim Dillard.

Dillard walked Jose Bautista to load the bases and face Encarnacion — and Dillard hit him with a pitch, forcing in a run to cut the lead to 6-3. Dillard then struck out Kelly Johnson to end the inning.

Braun hit a two-run homer in the seventh to extend the Brewers’ lead to 8-3.

Mike Fiers pitched a scoreless ninth for Milwaukee.

Notes: The Brewers optioned Tuesday night’s starter, Tyler Thornburg, to Triple-A Nashville and will make a corresponding roster move Thursday. … Toronto claimed RHP David Pauley off waivers after the Los Angeles Angels had designated him for assignment. Toronto will make a corresponding move before Friday’s game.

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