TORONTO — A low-scoring offense has put pressure on Philadelphia’s pitchers to be perfect. Cliff Lee wasn’t up to the task against the Blue Jays.
Mark Buehrle became the first six-game winner in the majors, Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run home run and Toronto won its seventh straight over Philadelphia, beating the Phillies 10-0 on Wednesday night.
Philadelphia’s struggling offense has scored in just one of the past 34 innings. The Phillies had a five-run sixth against Toronto in Tuesday’s 6-5 loss, were blanked 3-0 on Monday and did not score after the first in Sunday’s 1-0 home win over Washington.
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Manager Ryne Sandberg said the scoring slump put Lee in a difficult position.
”It’s tough without run support,” Sandberg said. ”He’s out there feeling like he has to be perfect.”
Lee wasn’t perfect, but he was certainly sharp through the first six innings, allowing just one run on two hits.
Things changed in the seventh when Erik Kratz and Juan Francisco both hit two-run homers as the Blue Jays blew open a pitcher’s duel with a nine-run, 12-batter inning.
”I wasn’t tired at all,” Lee said. ”It was one of those innings where they didn’t miss anything.”
Lee (3-3) allowed six runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, falling to 2-5 in eight career starts at Rogers Centre, his lowest winning percentage among the 33 stadiums he has pitched in over his career. He has won just once in his past six starts.
Toronto won its season-high fourth in a row, its longest run since an 11-game streak from June 11-23, 2013.
”They flat out beat us in every way,” Lee said. ”Shut us out and scored 10 runs. That’s a pretty good beating right there.”
Buehrle (6-1) allowed three hits in seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.91. He walked two and struck out six.
”I don’t want to ask too many questions, I don’t want to try to figure out what’s going on,” Buehrle said. ”I’m just going to roll with it and keep it as long as I can.”
Buehrle is 6-2 in his career against the Phillies, with both losses coming in 2012, when he pitched for Miami.
”He’s got some deception and he knows how to pitch,” Sandberg said. ”He doesn’t give in.”
Sergio Santos worked the eighth and Chad Jenkins finished.
Encarnacion opened the seventh with a triple that went over the head of center fielder Ben Revere and bounced back off the wall. Sandberg was disappointed in Revere’s effort on the play.
”It looked like he gave up on it and it hit the bottom of the wall,” Sandberg said. ”Catchable ball. Things unraveled from that point forward.”
Kratz followed with a drive into the second deck in left against his former team.
Dioner Navarro singled and Francisco, a left-handed hitter, followed with a line-drive homer to right, his first ever against a left-hander.
Steve Tolleson chased Lee with a double and later scored on a wild pitch third strike to Melky Cabrera by Mario Hollands. Jose Bautista hit an RBI single off Shawn Camp and Encarnacion followed with a three-run shot to center.
Lee retired the first seven batters in order before Colby Rasmus hit a one-out single in the third. Rasmus went to third on Tolleson’s ground rule double and scored without a throw on Jose Reyes’ sacrifice fly.
Lee set down 10 of the next 11 batters before coming unglued in the seventh.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins returned to the starting lineup after being limited to pinch-hitting duties the past two days because of a sore right groin. Rollins made his second career start at designated hitter, going 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout.
Philadelphia 1B Ryan Howard got the day off. … Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie (right hamstring) sat for the second straight game but is expected to return Thursday or Friday, Gibbons said. … Navarro made his first start since May 1 after being limited to pinch-hitting duties because of a sore right quadriceps. … Phillies RHP A.J. Burnett (2-1) faces Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (2-3) on Thursday.