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Buehrle sparkles as Blue Jays shut out Twins 4-0

The SportsXchange

TORONTO - Mark Buehrle was exactly what the Toronto Blue Jays needed to get back on track.

The veteran left-hander dominated the Minnesota Twins over seven shutout innings and has not allowed an earned run to them over his last 35 2/3 innings dating back to 2011.

Buehrle recorded his 28th career victory against Minnesota, his most against any opponent, and helped the Blue Jays snap a three-game losing streak in a 4-0 victory over the Twins on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

All the offense came from Toronto's top two hitters in the lineup. Jose Bautista had three hits, including a solo homer, and drove in two runs. Jose Reyes added three hits, two RBIs and his first stolen base since coming off the disabled list July 5.

Buehrle (5-5) lasted seven innings for the first time in four outings and didn't allow a run for the second time in 18 starts this season. The left-hander gave up six hits and struck out five batters and did not issue a walk, the second time he has done so in 2013.

"I had everything working," said Buehrle, who recorded his ninth quality start of the year. "Obviously when my changeup is down and it's working, it's going to be a good day. I was strike one a lot."

Buehrle escaped a first-inning jam by recording back-to-back strikeouts to strand a pair of Twins runners in scoring position and was in control for the remainder of the game, retiring 12 of the last 14 batters he faced.

"He was outstanding tonight, he had everything working," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's had some really good outings this year but that was up with the best of them."

The Twins (36-47) dropped their sixth consecutive game, falling to a season-high 11 games below .500. Minnesota is 1-8 in its last nine games at Rogers Centre and has dropped four straight overall to the Blue Jays (42-44).

Minnesota, which has dropped nine straight games to the American League East, is 2-9 over its last nine contests and has been outscored 79-52 over the rough stretch.

"We have to get back to relaxing and having some fun, seeing some guys smile," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "There is too much tension. It's a hard enough game and, like I said, we have to get back to doing our thing.

"This is a game, this is a baseball game and we have to have fun playing it, and right now we are not doing that."

Twins right-hander Kevin Correia (6-6) took the loss, just his second since May, after allowing four runs and a season-high 10 hits in six innings.

Correia struck out three and matched a season high by issuing three walks before turning the ball over to right-hander Ryan Pressly in the seventh. Pressly threw two scoreless innings of relief.

"We're just trying to stay loose," said Correia. "I think your first instinct when things aren't going good is to kind of tighten up and try to force something to happen, and that's not a good way to play baseball. We want to stay loose and have a good time, that's usually when you play your best."

The Blue Jays, who outhit the Twins 10-7, improved to 24-20 at home this season.

Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil worked a scoreless eighth and right-hander Dustin McGowan retired the side in order in the ninth.

The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the third with a solo home run by Bautista, his 20th homer of the year. It came off Correia and was Bautista's fourth homer in his last eight games.

Toronto tacked on three runs in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. After Correia walked Maicer Izturis and J.P. Arencibia to start the frame, Reyes hit a two-run double to right and Bautista followed with his third hit of the night, an RBI single to center.

"Reyes is unbelievable, it's the first real opportunity we have had to see him during a regular season game and he's an amazing looking kid out there," Gardenhire said.

NOTES: Reyes extended his hitting streak to eight games with a leadoff single in the first inning. Reyes has reached base safely in all but one of the 20 games he has played this season. ... Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey (back) was activated from the disabled list on Friday and will start Saturday against the Blue Jays. Pelfrey, who missed close to three weeks, made one rehab assignment at Class A Cedar Rapids. RHP P.J. Walters was designated for assignment to make room for Pelfrey on the 25-man roster. ... Blue Jays LF Melky Cabrera, who is on the 15-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis, ran on the field before the game and participated in batting practice. Cabrera will likely go on a rehab assignment before being activated from the DL, manager John Gibbons said.
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