Toronto Blue Jays (12-15) at Kansas City Royals (14-12), 8:10 p.m. (ET)
05/01/2014 9:38 AM
05/01/2014 9:38 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - Mark Buehrle hopes to put an awful start behind him on Thursday when the Toronto Blue Jays try to salvage the finale of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Buehrle had allowed just two runs in winning his first four starts, but was rocked on Friday by the Boston Red Sox to the tune of seven runs (6 earned) and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Still, at 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA the 35-year-old lefty put forth one of the best Aprils in his 15-year career.
"That's why I say you have to have the luck on your side," Buehrle said. "I wasn't hitting my spots as good as I was in the past. When I did, they got some base hits, but overall, too many strikes in the middle of the zone and they took advantage of it."
Buehrle has faced the Royals 52 times (50 starts) and is 23-12 against them with a 3.66 ERA.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will counter with a veteran of its own in righty Jeremy Guthrie, who is 2-1 with a 4.22 ERA. Guthrie did not get a decision on Saturday in Baltimore, despite a decent effort that saw him surrender a pair of runs in seven innings of his team's 3-2 loss.
Guthrie is just 3-7 lifetime versus the Blue Jays with a 3.34 ERA in 20 starts.
Kansas City won its third straight game on Wednesday, as Alcides Escobar's two-run double in the seventh inning lifted the Royals to a 4-2 win.
"He's been very consistent," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Escobar, who had been 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the season coming into the at-bat. "He's always been an important part of our club because of his defense. He saves runs in the field. But when you add offense to that, he becomes a very special player."
Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura was stellar once again, allowing just two hits and striking out four over five scoreless innings. The hard-throwing right-hander hasn't allowed a run over his last 13 innings.
Kelvin Herrera (1-1) was awarded the win after tossing a scoreless seventh, and Greg Holland stranded a runner in the ninth to pick up his seventh save.
Edwin Encarnacion was 2-for-4 with an RBI double and Juan Francisco also drove in a run for the Blue Jays, who have dropped seven of their last nine games to fall to 12-15.
Drew Hutchison (1-2) allowed all four runs on five hits over seven innings to absorb the loss.
"It's frustrating, but at the end of the day I need to do a better job to give us a chance to win after we came back and scored two runs," Hutchison said. "I was in complete control going into the seventh. It comes down to that it's on me and I need to get the job done."
On the injury front, the Blue Jays may be without leading hitter Melky Cabrera, who had to leave Wednesday's loss when he was hit in the left shin by a pitch in the sixth inning. X-Rays were negative, but he is listed as day-to- day.
Toronto won four of six games against Kansas City a year ago.