Friday, November 28, 2014

Jays salvage series split

TORONTO—Mark Buehrle is putting his faith in the fielding of his Toronto Blue Jays’ teammates—and it’s paying off.
“I need defence behind me,” Buehrle said.

“It’s a key,” he stressed. “I don’t strike out many guys so the ball is put in play.”
The results showed again for the Blue Jays’ soft-throwing left-hander, who became the first 10-game winner in the major leagues yesterday in Toronto’s 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
By working quickly and efficiently, Buehrle pitched eight strong innings and was supported by home runs from Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion, as well as some solid defence.
The game was played in a brisk two hours 14 minutes.
“It’s not luck,” said Blue Jays’ right-fielder Jose Bautista.
“He’s pitching great, throwing strikes, keeping people off balance and allowing us a chance to play defence behind him,” he noted.
“It’s no surprise that every time he pitches, there are plenty of good defensive plays made,” Bautista added.
“He keeps everybody engaged in the game because he works quick.”
Buehrle (10-1) held the Royals to six hits and one walk while striking out three to win his sixth-straight decision.
“I don’t know if it’s one of those things where working fast keeps them on their toes and ready to field stuff,” Buehrle said.
“I don’t if that is the key to it.
“Again, I just try to get the ball and throw it and I know the guys like to play behind you when it’s a quick game,” he added.
“I need those guys all over the place when I’m pitching.”
Toronto manager John Gibbons thought it was one of Buehrle’s best performances this season.
“Today [Buehrle] was as good as he has been all year,” noted Gibbons.
“That’s what he does, he keeps you off balance and hits both sides of the plate.
“He . . . topped off a nice homestand for us,” Gibbons said.
Left-hander Aaron Loup took over in the ninth from Buehrle after Encarnacion’s two-run homer in the eighth had extended the lead to four runs.
The Jays (34-24) took the final two games of the four-game series to gain a split with the Royals (26-30) and finish their homestand at 8-2.
Toronto now has won 21 of their past 28 games to take over first place in the AL East.
“[Buehrle] was dynamite,” lauded Royals’ manager Ned Yost.
“He’s traditionally tough on us but he’s 10-1 now, he’s tough on everybody.
“He’s a master at what he does,” Yost added. “He commands the baseball so well, changes speeds off everything he has. . . .
“He’s just really, really good at keeping you off balance.”
Royals’ right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2-5) allowed eight hits and two runs in seven innings to go 10 starts without a win after winning his first two of the season.
Guthrie allowed two walks and had five strikeouts before he was replaced by right-hander Aaron Crow in the eighth.
Elsewhere in the AL, Minnesota beat New York 7-2, Boston downed Tampa Bay 4-0, Oakland doubled L.A. 6-3, and Seattle blanked Detroit 4-0.
Over in the NL, Atlanta doubled Miami 4-2, New York edged Philadelphia 4-3 (11 innings), Milwaukee dumped Chicago 9-0, San Francisco blanked St. Louis 8-0, Cincinnati nipped Arizona 4-3, and Pittsburgh beat L.A. 5-3.
Texas blanked Washington 2-0, Cleveland beat Colorado 6-4, and the Chicago White Sox downed San Diego 4-1 in interleague play.

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