If you thought we could jump in late during the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday tilt with the Cleveland Indians, you were likely disappointed. With Mark Buehrle on the hill for Toronto, you likely blinked and the game was over before you opened your eyes again.
The Blue Jays left-hander continued his hot streak, needing just 107 pitches to work into the eighth inning. His off-speed magic was working all afternoon, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out three on the day. Indians hitters spent the afternoon getting a steady diet of curves, change-ups, and varying fastballs that had them inducing weak contact all day.
Buehrle ran into trouble just twice all afternoon. In the bottom of the first, he surrendered a lead-off hit to Asbrubal Cabrera and then hit Jason Kipnis with one out. However, he got out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending double-play off the bat of Carlos Santana. He came back out in the eighth, surrendered a lead-off single and walked Mike Aviles. That was enough for John Gibbons to go to the bullpen and bring in Esmil Rogers. Rogers proceeded to strike out the next two batters before getting a fly-out to end the inning.
Buerhle finished the afternoon with a pitching line of 7 IP, 4H, 3BB, 3K and a game score of 69. The win brings his season record to a perfect 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA after four starts. More importantly, Buehrle’s performance gave a tired bullpen some much needed rest.
Offensively, the Blue Jays backed up Buehrle with a mixture of timely hitting.
Toronto started things off in the first with a 1-out triple off the bat of Melky Cabrera. Jose Bautista cashed him in with a lazy blooper behind first base that glanced off the glove of Nick Swisher. Bautista would move on to second on a passed ball and then to third on a ground-out by Edwin Encarnacion. Dioner Navarro did the rest with a RBI single to right field to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead at the end of the first.
A lead-off walk to Brett Lawrie in the second inning came around to haunt Cleveland in the second. A ground-out by Juan Francisco and fly-out by Ryan Goins moved Lawrie to third. Jose Reyes, fresh of the DL, singled up the middle to score Lawrie for the third run of the game.
The Jays failed to deliver on opportunities on innings 3-6, but the bats broke through again in the 7th. A two-out walk to Jose Bautista was followed by a ringing double off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. RBI machine Dioner Navarro looped a single to center to score the pair to give Toronto a bit of a cushion and the final margin at 5-0.
The win gives the Blue Jays a 10-8 record. Last season, it took Toronto until April 30th to register their 10th win of the season. They’ll look for their first season sweep, and 11th win of the season when they wrap up the series with Cleveland on Sunday.