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Blue Jays aim to salvage series split with Royals

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The Sports Network
6/1/2014 9:19:17 AM
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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Blue Jays will attempt to salvage a split of this weekend's four-game series with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The Blue Jays were defeated in each of the first two games of the weekend, but they came back in a big way on Saturday. Jose Bautista got things started in the first inning, roping a RBI double to right center to kick off a seven-run first inning. Toronto would add to that total throughout the day en route to a 12-2 victory.

Bautista finished 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored, while Adam Lind (3- for-4, 2 RBI, 4 runs), Brett Lawrie (2-for-3, 3 RBI) and Juan Francisco (3- for-4, 4 RBI) all had big days at the plate.

Marcus Stroman, who was a late replacement for scheduled starter Drew Hutchison, was the beneficiary of the offensive eruption. Stroman made his first career start in just his sixth Major League game and allowed just one run on five hits while striking out six in six innings.

"It was a pretty unbelievable game to be a part of. The offense is just so special," said Stroman.

Aaron Brooks was making his first career start on the other side for Kansas City, but he did not fare as well. Brooks allowed all seven runs in the first inning and was relieved after recording only two outs. He gave up five hits and three walks.

"I just couldn't control the zone," said Brooks. "I was just trying to do a little too much I guess."

Jeremy Guthrie will attempt to keep up a recent string of success when he takes the mound for Kansas City on Sunday.

Although he was tagged with the loss in his last start, Guthrie allowed just one run over six innings of work against Houston. That outing came on the heels of a seven-inning, one-run effort against the White Sox in his previous start.

Guthrie has not been so consistently effective this season, as he is just 2-4 with an ERA of 4.14. In fact, after winning his first two starts of the season, Guthrie has taken a loss in four straight decisions. The good news for the Royals is that they are 6-5 when Guthrie is on the mound.

In his 11 seasons in the majors, Guthrie has only three wins in 21 chances against the Blue Jays. He has also taken eight losses, but worked a respectable 3.46 ERA.

MLB wins leader Mark Buehrle will try to add to his total when he gets the ball for the Blue Jays.

The veteran left-hander has been extremely impressive this season, racking up a 9-1 record in 11 starts, while keeping his ERA to just 2.33. It is quite the turnaround for Buehrle, who went just 12-10 with a 4.15 ERA in 33 starts last season.

Buehrle earned his ninth win this past Tuesday, despite letting up four runs, three of which were earned, and failing to get out of the seventh inning. Luckily the Blue Jays' bats picked him up, leading to a 9-6 victory over Tampa Bay.

There is plenty of familiarity between Buehrle and the Royals, as the left- hander spent his first 12 seasons playing for the division rival White Sox. In 53 appearances, 51 of which were starts, Buehrle has accumulated a 24-12 record and an ERA of 3.64 against the Royals.

Toronto had won five straight series entering this weekend. Kansas City has a chance to win its first series since taking two from Colorado on May 13 and May 14. The Royals have not won a four-game series since taking three out of four from the White Sox in the final four games of last season.

Adam Lind (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)

Today's Blue Jays lineup vs. Royals

1. Jose Reyes-SS
2. Melky Cabrera-LF
3. Jose Bautista-RF
4. Adam Lind-DH
5. Edwin Encarnacion-1B
6. Juan Francisco-3B
7. Brett Lawrie-2B
8. Dioner Navarro-C
9. Anthony Gose-CF
SP Mark Buehrle

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