The Blue Jays knew this all the way through a 3-8 slump over the past two weeks: better starting pitching is the way out.

Enter Mark Buehrle. On Friday night, the veteran lefty put together another solid outing at a crucial time.
With the Jays coming off a beatdown by the Detroit Tigers, Buehrle was in control against the Minnesota Twins, working seven solid innings as the Jays managed a 4-0 victory before an announced crowd of 25,672 at the Rogers Centre.

This was Buehrle at his best. He worked inside and out, but never directly over the plate. When he does that, he is one of the most effective left-handed pitchers in the American League. And his stats bear that out. Buehrle was making his 18th start of the season Friday night and he improved to 5-5. Over his first four starts at home, he had a 5.33 ERA with opponents batting .291. His last four starts have seen him improve to 2.16 with a .219 opponents’ average.

The win by the Jays was just their fourth in 12, but it was an important one. The club had dropped three of four to the Tigers, who emphasized the fact that they are a superior team.

Toronto’s final defeat in the four-game series against Detroit was an 11-1 setback that essentially showcased all of the negatives in the team’s play this season. There was bad defence, big early leads given up by the starter, and a general malaise about the club that underlined the fact it remained in last place in the American League East (the only team under .500).

That wasn’t supposed to be in the script for a Toronto club that had won 11 games, but went 3-8 afterwards. That winning streak ushered in a better looking team, one that played better defence and wasn’t hurting itself by giving the opposition extra outs.

Somehow, much of that resurfaced after the winning streak came to an end. Better starting pitching was the answer.

Buehrle provided the tonic Friday night, and continued a streak of solid pitching that has made him arguably the club’s best starter overall this season.