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Blue Jays bruise Braves 9-3

Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer while Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia each hit two-run shots as the Toronto Blue Jays opened a home-and-home series with Atlanta by defeating the Braves 9-3 on Monday.

Mark Buehrle (2-3) was solid through six innings for the Blue Jays (22-29), with one earned run allowed on five hits, two walks and six strikeouts.

Tim Hudson (4-4) also went six for the Braves but his pitching line wasn’t so flattering. The right-hander gave up six runs on eight hits with just one strikeout.

He was replaced in the seventh by reliever Cory Rasmus, Colby’s brother, who made his second major-league appearance and lost points in the sibling rivalry.

Cory Rasmus gave up a ground-rule double to Melky Cabrera, walked Jose Bautista and watched Encarnacion send the first pitch over the fence for his 14th homer of the year for a 9-1 lead.

Colby Rasmus also got some family bragging rights after the Blue Jays centre-fielder doubled off his brother later in the inning.

Evan Gattis had the lone homer for NL East-leading Atlanta (30-20), a two-run drive in the eighth inning off Brad Lincoln.

Rasmus’s homer to right field in the second gave Toronto a 2-0 lead and came two batters after Adam Lind was rewarded for a great at-bat against Hudson. Lind battled for eight pitches against the Braves right hander before sending the ninth pitch to right field for a double.

Encarnacion made it 4-0 in the third. His hit to centre drove in Cabrera and Bautista, but Encarnacion followed them to the dugout after getting caught between first and second base.

On the mound, Buehrle had a one-hitter going until the fifth inning when Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson doubled and Andrelton Simmons sent him home with a single.

The Blue Jays starter had only one more inning in him. Gattis hit a ball that bounced off Buehrle for a single in the sixth, prompting a chat with Toronto’s trainer. Brian McCann then moved runners to second and third, but Buehrle struck out Dan Uggla on his 111th pitch of the game to end the scoring threat, the inning and his outing.

Toronto’s offence took control from there. Lind had a lead-off walk in the bottom of the inning and on the next at-bat Arencibia crushed an offering from Hudson over the centre-field wall for a 6-1 Blue Jays lead.

The inning wasn’t without incident. Brett Lawrie stole second but his left ankle was caught on the base in a play similar to the one that severely sprained shortstop Jose Reyes’s left ankle in April. Lawrie moved to third but signalled to the dugout and was replaced by Mark DeRosa for the remainder of the game.

The team later announced Lawrie is day-to-day.