Mark Buehrle goes after his major league-leading 11th win of the season on Thursday when the Toronto Blue Jays open a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Buehrle lost for the first time in seven decisions on Saturday to St. Louis, but it was through no fault of his own, as he was again tremendous, surrendering one run and five hits in seven innings. However, he did walk five batters and fell to 10-2, despite lowering his ERA a tick to 2.04.
The 35-year-old left-hander's resurgence has been a big reason why the Blue Jays sit atop the American League East standings.
"We go out there and win a few games, try to win a series, that's how we have to go from here on out," said Buehrle. "Not really a scoreboard watcher or look at what other teams are doing, just go out there and try to take care of yourself. Hopefully we're at first place at the end of the year, but we have a long way to go."
Buehrle is a perfect 5-0 with a stingy 1.47 ERA away from home this season. One of those wins came in Baltimore back on April 13, but he's 8-8 with a 3.31 ERA in 20 career starts against the O's.
Toronto will be looking to get itself right on Thursday, as it enters this series on the heels of dropping four of five after a 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. Jose Bautista had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run for the Blue Jays, who had won 15 of 17 before this rough patch.
Toronto, though, still holds a 4 1/2-game edge on the Orioles and Yankees in the division.
"I think we've cooled off pretty good, pretty much top to bottom in the lineup ... but that's the way it goes," manager John Gibbons said. "The key is you can't prolong the struggles. You've got to put an end to them. The bats will heat up again, hopefully sooner than later."
Baltimore will try to make up some ground behind young righty Kevin Gausman, who is coming off the best showing of his career. The 23-year-old former first round pick earned his first win as a starter on Saturday, as he held the Oakland Athletics to a run and four hits over seven innings to even his record at 1-1, while, lowering his ERA almost seven runs to 4.91.
"If he pitches next time like he pitched last time, I view him as a starter," Showalter said.
Baltimore comes into this series after taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox. In Wednesday's rubber match, Chris Davis hit a two-run homer to back seven scoreless innings from Wei-Yin Chen, as Baltimore rolled, 6-0.
Chen (7-2) gave up four hits while striking out a season-high seven batters for the Orioles, who bounced back from a 1-0 loss on Tuesday. Adam Jones, Nick Hundley, Jonathan Schoop and Nick Markakis each knocked in a run.
"I came out here early today and worked on a few things that have really be helpful for me in the past and was able to swing the bat the way I wanted to tonight so it was definitely a good night for me," Davis said.
Baltimore has split six matchups with the Blue Jays this season.