Buehrle dominates in Blue Jays’ 5-0 win
CLEVELAND (AP) — Nick Swisher admits the Cleveland Indians are scuffling.
The veteran first baseman also knows it’s too early in the season to overreact.
"Obviously we haven’t had the start we wanted as a group," he said after Saturday’s 5-0 loss to Toronto. "Then again last year we started off the season 5-10, so not time to panic just yet."
Cleveland has lost three in a row and seven of nine, but manager Terry Francona isn’t worried.
"This game, there’s a lot of (frustration)," he said. "The good part from where I sit is that I know they’ll fight through it. We really believe in this group a lot and it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but we really believe in this group. That’s what I hang my hat on every day."
The last thing the Indians’ struggling offense needed to see was a pitcher on a roll. Instead, they got one of the hottest starters in the American League. Mark Buehrle pitched seven innings of shutout baseball as the Indians were blanked for the first time this season. The left-hander is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA in four starts.
Corey Kluber (1-2) gave up five runs (four earned) in 6 2-3 innings and was the victim of bad luck in the first.
"Sometimes you make your pitches and they hit it where somebody’s not," he said. "I think you just gotta try to kind of put that aside and go about the next hitter, whether you get them out or they get on, just kind of attack the guy the same way."
Melky Cabrera, who had four hits Friday for Toronto, tripled with one out as right fielder David Murphy crashed into the wall after a long run.
Jose Bautista hit a popup into shallow right which Murphy, Swisher and second baseman Jason Kipnis converged on. 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, catcher Dioner Navarro’s groundball took a bad hop and glanced off Swisher’s chest for a hit.
In the second, Jose Reyes’ two-out single up the middle scored Brett Lawrie, who started the inning with a walk, gave Toronto a 3-0 lead.
Kluber pitched well enough to go into the seventh, getting the first two outs before walking Bautista and giving up a double to Edwin Encarnacion. Navarro ended Kluber’s day with a two-run single. The right-hander gave up nine hits, struck out three and walked three.
The Indians had two baserunners in both the first and second innings, but Buehrle worked around trouble both times. Carlos Santana bounced into a double play with runners on first and second to end the first. Gomes singled and Murphy walked with two outs in the second, but Mike Aviles flied out.
Buehrle allowed just four baserunners after the second and ended up surrendering four hits, striking out three and walking three.
Murphy started the eighth with a single and Aviles walked, ending Buehrle’s day. Esmil Rogers struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and Swisher, while getting Kipnis to fly out to center. Rogers also struck out two in the ninth.
The Indians never had a runner at third base and grounded into two double plays, bringing their season total to 18.
For the Blue Jays, Reyes played 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. Navarro was 2 for 4 and drove in three runs.
NOTES: Indians OF Michael Bourn, who is 1 for 13 in three games since returning from a hamstring injury, was given the day off. … Santana was hitless in four at-bats and is 3 for 40 in his last 10 games. … Gomes has committed five errors and three passed balls in 16 games. … OF Michael Brantley was 0 for 3, ending his 10-game hitting streak. … The series ends Sunday when Toronto’s Brandon Morrow (1-1) faces Carlos Carrasco (0-2).