The Blue Jays have been hoping — maybe even praying — for any sign of consistency from even just one pitcher in their starting rotation. Well, Mark Buehrle appears to be ready. Buehrle looked like the model of consistency Monday night against the Atlanta Braves, and it wasn’t just an ordinary Monday night in Jay-land. Pitching on the day after the most controversial game of the season, Buehrle was a mirror of his career reputation — cool, quick, smooth, and economic. He worked six innings of one-run ball against a very good Braves team in anchoring a 9-3 Jays’ victory at the Rogers Centre. This was just what the Jays needed after Sunday’s rollercoaster win over Baltimore. Still fresh in the minds of everyone in the clubhouse was the contrasting mixture of Munenori Kawasaki’s charming heroics and Brett Lawrie’s self-centered blowup. The Jays handled the whole affair as professionals should — they dealt with it behind closed doors and moved on. But the moving on part wouldn’t really be complete until the team took to the field and faced a Braves team that entered the game 9-1 in its last 10 games. Buehrle was, in essence, on the spot moreso than in his other starts; if the lefty delivered a solid outing, it would put Sunday behind the team in quick order. Buehrle certainly has a history of producing these kinds of starts, and he repeated that history Monday, keeping the powerful Braves off the scoreboard until the fifth inning. That’s what a starter’s principal design is, to keep his team in the game. By the time the Braves’ offence woke up, Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia had clobbered two-run homers off Braves starter Tim Hudson. Edwin Encarnacion put the game out of reach with a three-run homer in the seventh; and Rasmus, facing brother Cory in the seventh, got the better of the brother vs. brother battle with an opposite field double off a 3-1 count. Toronto’s offence did what it’s best suited for, hitting homers and taking care of runs with one swing of the bat. That wasn’t expected against Hudson, who was 11-3 lifetime against the Jays with a 1.91 ERA. Buehrle finished strongly, striking out Dan Uggla with runners on second and third (Uggla leads all active second baseman with 216 career homers). Buehrle whiffed six batters, equalling his second-highest total of the season (seven was his best). More importantly, Buehrle was continuing a positive trend from his previous four starts. He was missing off the plate in places he wouldn’t get hurt. That contrasted his earlier starts this season, in which he was leaving the ball over the plate and giving up homers. Buehrle is tied with teammates R.A. Dickey and Brandon Morrow among others for second in the majors with 11 homers given up. But Buerhle has not given up any over his last four starts.
Mark Buehrle solid as Blue Jays trounce Atlanta Braves 9-3
Toronto Star | May 28