MLB

Buehrle helps Blue Jays snap slide with win over Twins

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The Canadian Press
7/5/2013 11:24:48 PM
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TORONTO -- Mark Buehrle knew he was in for a good night after working out of some early trouble.

The Blue Jays starter overcame a first-inning threat when Minnesota had runners at second and third with one out. Buehrle struck out Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe to escape the inning and went on to pitch through the seventh as Toronto beat the Twins 4-0 on Friday.

"I'm not much of a strikeout pitcher but second and third in the first I needed a strike out there and I'm hoping for the best and it usually doesn't happen but it worked out," Buehrle said.

The victory snapped Toronto's three-game losing streak.

Buehrle (5-5) held Minnesota to six hits and no walks while striking out five for his first win since June 19. It was the sixth time in 18 starts this season that the left-hander has pitched seven innings.

"Today was one of those days like I had in Boston earlier in the season (a 3-2 win on May 11)," Buehrle said. "I was getting ahead in the count, making pitches when I needed them."

Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes each drove in two runs and had three hits apiece for the Blue Jays who picked up their seventh shutout of the season.

Bautista had a third-inning home run and an RBI single among his hits while Reyes had a two-run double in the fourth inning as he extended his hitting streak to eight games.

The Twins (36-47) have lost six games in a row while the Blue Jays (42-44) have lost eight of their past 12 games after an 11-game win streak in June equalled a franchise record.

The Twins are 1-8 in their past nine games at Rogers Centre. Their last win in Toronto was April 3, 2011.

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said his team was deflated after failing to score in the first inning.

"When we don't get one in, then it's like the air goes out of your tires and you can't play like that," Gardenhire said. "You have to keep grinding and going after them. a My feeling is that we are too tense, there is too much going on. It's too quiet. a

"This is a game, this is a baseball game and we have to have fun playing it, and right now we are not doing that. Too much pressure going on, I don't see enough smiles on their faces."

Left-hander Brett Cecil took over from Buehrle in the eighth inning and allowed one hit. Right-hander Dustin McGowan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the Blue Jays.

"(Buehrle) was outstanding tonight, he had everything working," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "He's had some really good outings this year but that was up with the best of them."

Twins' right-hander Kevin Correia (6-6) allowed 10 hits and four runs in six innings for his second loss in his past three starts with a no-decision in between

"We're just trying to stay loose," Correia said. "I think your first instinct when things aren't going good is to kind of tighten up and try to force something to happen, and that's not a good way to play baseball. We want to stay loose and have a good time, that's usually when you play your best.

"We are just on a bad streak right now, so we're going to try to keep it loose and see if we can get something going."

Correia was replaced in the seventh by right-hander Ryan Pressly who pitched the final two innings without allowing a hit.

The Blue Jays stranded three runners in the first two innings before Bautista hit a 2-2 hanging curve to left centre for his 20th homer of the season with one out in the third for the game's first run.

The Blue Jays took a 4-0 lead in a three-run fourth.

Maicer Izturis and J.P. Arencibia took walks to open the inning before they advanced on a sacrifice by Munenori Kawasaki. Reyes grounded a double to right to score both runners and scored in turn on Bautista's single to centre.

"Reyes is unbelievable," Gardenhire said. "It's the first real opportunity we have had to see him during a regular season game and he's an amazing looking kid out there -- all over the field."

NOTES: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 25,672. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie (left ankle sprain) of Langley, B.C., was 0-for-3 on Thursday for single-A Lansing as he continued his minor-league rehabilitation assignment. He will go to double-A New Hampshire soon but there is no schedule for his return to Toronto. ... Blue Jays' RHP R.A. Dickey (8-8, 4.59 earned-run average) will start Saturday against Twins' RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.11 ERA). Pelfrey (back strain) is coming off a stint on the disabled list and will be making his first start since June 18. ...The Twins designated RHP P.J. Walters for assignment to make room for Pelfrey.

Mark Buehrle  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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