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Blue Jays 3, Rays 0

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Right fielder Jose Bautista crushed two homers to back up left-hander Mark Buehrle's dominant regular-season debut as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0 on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.

Bautista went deep to left-center field off Rays left-hander Matt Moore in the fourth inning and then pulled another home run to left against reliever Josh Lueke in the seventh, his first two-homer game since June 29, 2013.

That was more than enough run support for Buehrle.

Typically a slow starter, Buehrle (1-0) was anything but that against the Rays. The veteran effortlessly carved through Tampa Bay's lineup for 8 2/3 scoreless innings. He had 11 strikeouts, with eight on called strikes. It was Buehrle's highest strikeout total since April 16, 2005, when he fanned 12 batters in a complete-game victory for the Chicago White Sox.

Buehrle was one out from a complete-game shutout before Ben Zobrist's line drive bounced off third baseman Brett Lawrie's glove and into left field. With Buehrle's pitch count at 108, manager John Gibbons emerged from the dugout and called for right-hander Sergio Santos, who walked third baseman Evan Longoria. Gibbons then turned to left-hander Brett Cecil, who struck out pinch-hitter Matt Joyce for the final out.

Moore (0-1), coming off an All-Star campaign in 2013, was mostly effective but not particularly efficient. The left-hander allowed six hits and three walks while striking out four but needed 106 pitches, only 60 of them strikes, to get through 5 2/3 innings.

The Rays' lineup, meanwhile, was stymied for a second straight night. Tampa Bay managed only four hits, two of them from designated hitter Logan Forsythe.

Buehrle and Moore quickly worked their way through the first three innings before the Blue Jays got to Moore in the fourth.

Bautista took two fastballs to work a 1-1 count, then unloaded on a 79 mph curveball, bashing his first home run of the season to left-center field. First baseman Edwin Encarnacion followed Bautista's blast with a double to left field, and he scored on catcher Dioner Navarro's single to right, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead.

NOTES: The Rays signed RHP Chris Archer to an eight-year contract extension, Tampa Bay's longest commitment ever to a pitcher. The first six years (2014-19) are guaranteed, and Tampa Bay holds club options for 2020 and 2021. The deal guarantees Archer a total of $25.5 million, with a maximum value of $43.75 million. "There are few things in life that are guaranteed, and the Rays have guaranteed me six years for the amount that we all know, and, in turn, I'm going to guarantee to give them everything I can on and off the field," Archer said. ... Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters he expects SS Jose Reyes (hamstring) to return "somewhat soon" and that the team is not looking elsewhere for help at shortstop. ... Rays RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, on the 15-day disabled list after a late start to the spring, will pitch in a minor league game Thursday for Triple-A Durham. Oviedo missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in September 2012.
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