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Buehrle, Blue Jays blank Indians

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Mark Buehrle is at the top of his game and the Cleveland Indians hitters are not. For proof, look no further than the final score Saturday at Progressive Field, where the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians, 5-0.

Buehrle pitched four-hit ball over seven scoreless innings and catcher Dioner Navarro had two hits and three runs batted in to lead Toronto to its second consecutive win over Cleveland in their weekend series.

Buehrle struck out three and walked three in improving his record to 4-0 and lowering his ERA to 0.64.

"He's good, that's all there is to it," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Buehrle, who battled through a brisk day that featured strong winds blowing in from center field on top of a gametime temperature of 44 degrees.

Added Cleveland manager Terry Francona: "He gets the lead and he puts you in a rocking chair, expanding the plate and changing speeds. He's feeling good about himself and really throwing the ball well."

Said Buehrle: "The first couple innings it was pretty bad with the cold and the wind I couldn't get a grip on the ball for the first few innings."

Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber was making his first career appearance against. Toronto, and it didn't start well.

With one out in the first inning, Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera hit a towering fly ball onto the warning track in right field. Cleveland right fielder David Murphy was unable to run it down and it went as a triple for Cabrera.

Right fielder Jose Bautista followed with a single to right, giving Toronto a 1-0 lead. Bautista went to second on a passed ball by catcher Yan Gomes, and a groundout by first baseman Edwin Encarnacion moved Bautista to third.

Navarro then hit a sharp grounder that ricocheted off the shoulder of first baseman Nick Swisher for an infield single that scored Bautista to make it 2-0.

"We're playing a little sloppy now," Kluber said. "As a staff, we're walking too many guys, our defense has not been good and our offense has been struggling to score runs. We're not doing enough of the little things that you need to do to win games."

The Indians have lost four of their last five games and have scored a total of 13 runs in those five games.

"We don't have some of our guys hot right now, some of our bigger bats," Francona said. "But these guys are good hitters and they are going to hit. We believe in them."

The Blue Jays extended their lead to 3-0 in the second inning, which began with third baseman Brett Lawrie drawing a walk. Lawrie went to second on groundout and to third on a flyout, then scored on a two-out single by shortstop Jose Reyes, who was activated from the disabled list before the game.

The Indians threatened to score in each of the first two innings, but Buehrle pitched out of trouble both times, then settled in to dominate the Cleveland lineup over his last five innings.

In the first inning, the Indians had runners at first and second with one out when designated hitter Carlos Santana grounded into an inning-ending double play. In the second inning, Cleveland had runners at first and second with two out, but again couldn't score.

"He's off to a terrific start. He really is. That's definitely what we needed today," Gibbons said.

"I haven't changed anything in 10 or 11 years," Buehrle said. "I'm not going to keep asking questions. I'm going to go out there and run with it and see what happens."

Toronto scored two more runs in the seventh inning to take a 5-0 lead. With two out and nobody on, Kluber walked Bautista. Encarnacion doubled Bautista to third and both runners scored on a single by Navarro, the last batter faced by Kluber.

In 6 2/3 innings Kluber (1-2) gave up five runs, four earned, on nine hits, with three walks and three strikeouts.

NOTES: Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera had a double and a triple in five at bats and is 6-for-10 in the first two games of the series. ... Cleveland third baseman Carlos Santana grounded into his American League-leading seventh double play in the first inning. At the start of play Saturday no other player in the league had grounded into more than four double plays. ... Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco's start Sunday will be his first since April 11. His turn in the rotation was skipped last week because of days off in the schedule.
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