Blue Jays’ Buehrle shuts out Indians, improves to 4-0
Mark Buehrle has a simple explanation for his unbeaten record.
”The slower you throw, the better off you are,” he said after pitching the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.
Buehrle (4-0) pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and lowered his ERA to 0.64 in four starts. The 34-year-old left-hander, who once pitched a perfect game, was pulled after giving up a single and walk to start the eighth. He allowed four hits overall, struck out three and walked three.
”I haven’t changed anything in 10 or 11 years,” he said. ”I’m not going to keep asking questions. I’m going to go out there and run with it and see what happens.”
Jose Reyes hit an RBI single in his first game since opening day, when he strained his left hamstring in his first at-bat of the season and went on the disabled list.
Corey Kluber (1-2) allowed five runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Dioner Navarro drove in three runs. Run-scoring singles by Jose Bautista and Navarro in the first put Toronto ahead, which was more than enough for Buehrle against the struggling Indians, who have lost seven of nine.
Navarro added a two-run single in the seventh that chased Kluber.
Buehrle gave Toronto’s overworked bullpen a much-needed breather. The Blue Jays played a doubleheader Thursday in Minnesota and needed four relievers in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Indians.
”He’s good, that’s all there is to it,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons.
Indians manager Terry Francona agreed.
”It’s not just today, it’s been his first four starts and probably for the majority of his career,” Francona said. ”He gets a lead and he kind of puts you in a rocking chair. Little fastball, cuts it in to keep you honest, expands the plate, takes something off of it, throws a lot of changeups. We’ll get a guy on, he’ll get you to roll over, he’s really good at that.”
Cleveland didn’t get a runner past second base and was shut out for the first time this season.
Melky Cabrera, who had four hits Friday for Toronto, tripled with one out in the first as right fielder David Murphy crashed into the wall after a long run. Cabrera scored when Bautista’s popup fell in shallow right field. First baseman Nick Swisher tried to make the catch with his back to home plate, but got twisted around and the wind-blown ball fell in for single.
Following a passed ball by catcher Yan Gomes and a groundout that moved Bautista to third, Navarro’s groundball took a bad hop and glanced off Swisher’s chest for a hit.
Reyes’ two-out single up the middle scored Brett Lawrie and gave Toronto a 3-0 lead in the second.
”I’m really happy just to be back, be with my teammates, see my guys again,” Reyes said. ”I’m happy that I’m going to be on the field and play and do what I love to do, just play baseball.”
The Indians had two baserunners in the first and second, but Buehrle worked around trouble both times. Murphy’s single and a walk to Mike Aviles finally ended his day, but Esmil Rogers struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and Swisher before Jason Kipnis flied out.
NOTES: Reyes initially was injured during spring training, then got hurt on opening day. He rehabbed his leg in Florida and missed 16 games. He batted .296 last season for Toronto, but missed 66 games with a sprained left ankle. … Santana was hitless in four at-bats and is 3 for 40 in his last 10 games. … Bautista has reached safely in all 18 games. … Gomes has committed five errors and three passed balls in 16 games. … Blue Jays DH Juan Francisco, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Buffalo earlier in the day when Adam Lind went on the disabled list with a sore back, had an infield hit in the fourth and walked in the sixth. … Indians OF Michael Bourn, who is 1 for 13 in three games since returning from a hamstring injury, was given the day off. .. The series ends Sunday when Toronto’s Brandon Morrow (1-1) faces Carlos Carrasco (0-2).