Buehrle baffles Red Sox in Blue Jays' victory

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The Canadian Press
5/11/2013 6:43:18 PM
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BOSTON -- Mark Buehrle was in one of those rare grooves where he never thought he'd allow a hit. He's got the resume to know what that feels like.

Buehrle pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning before Toronto's bullpen blew a 2-0 lead and the Blue Jays rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Adam Lind hit a tiebreaking homer off Boston closer Junichi Tazawa leading off the ninth to lift the struggling Blue Jays to just their fifth win in 16 games.

But it was Buehrle's day. He outdueled Clay Buchholz and put the Blue Jays in position to send Buchholz to his first loss of the season before the Red Sox came back.

"I felt like everytime I was throwing a pitch it was like, 'You're not going to hit it,"' the 35-year old left-hander said. "That's how I felt today."

And he should know, having tossed two no-hitters in his career, including a perfect game against Tampa Bay July 23, 2009.

After walking the leadoff batter in the eighth, Buehrle was pulled. Darren Oliver (2-1) got the win despite giving up the tying run.

"That's vintage Buerhle right there," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He had it going today. A tough day to pitch. A short left field wall and you had the wind the blowing out. That's as good as it gets."

Lind belted a 2-2 pitch from Tazawa (2-2) into the centre field bleachers, sending Boston to its seventh loss in nine games.

Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances. He allowed a leadoff double, but got the next three hitters.

It was Buchholz's first meeting with the Blue Jays since Toronto broadcaster Jack Morris accused him of throwing a spitball after he beat them in a game on May 1.

"He was normal, good," Lind said when asked about the controversy with Buchholz. "He doesn't need it -- a power sinker, cutter, curve. He's got everything you want in a starting pitcher."

Gibbons said, "That's over. We're not talking about it."

Buehrle had baffled Boston's batters for seven shutout innings, but he walked David Ross to open the eighth. Oliver relieved and Jacoby Ellsbury tripled over centre fielder Colby Rasmus' head. One out later with the infield in, Dustin Pedroia's hard-hit grounder bounced off shortstop Munenori Kawasaki's glove and into short left, allowing Ellsbury to race home with the tying run. The play was ruled an error.

Buehrle was charged with a run, allowing five hits, striking out five and walking two.

Buchholz gave up two runs, six hits, striking out four and walking three in eight innings.

The start was delayed 51 minutes by rain before Buehrle and Buchholz began their work in a contest that saw the first seven innings played in about two hours.

"Both guys settled in and pitched extremely well on both sides," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Seemingly, after the second inning, Buehrle really settled into a very good rhythm. As we know he works extremely fast. Lived on the edge the whole game."

Buehrle had given up five runs or more in five of his previous seven starts, but he had the Red Sox hitters looking confused as he changed speeds, mixing a below-average speed fastball with cutters, curves and change-ups to get a number of off-balanced, poorly timed swings.

The left-hander retired 13 straight batters from the third through seventh innings, with Boston hitting just two balls out of the infield and striking out three times.

He needed just seven pitches in fifth and 12 in both the sixth and seventh.

Buchholz acknowledged how impressive Buehrle pitched.

"He's been around for a long time," he said. "It's not frustrating because of who he is. It's frustrating to lose in general."

Facing the Blue Jays for the first time since Morris' accusations that lasted into his next start, Buchholz breezed through a perfect first inning on eight pitches, throwing seven strikes and getting a strikeout.

But Toronto scored a run in both the third and fourth before Buchholz got into a groove, too.

The Blue Jays, who were two-hit over seven innings by Buchholz in that 8-0 loss to the Red Sox in Toronto, grabbed a 1-0 lead on Melky Cabrera's RBI single in the third.

In the fourth, Rasmus's run-scoring single made it 2-0 after Lind singled leading off and advanced on Brett Lawrie's slow roller to third.

After the Blue Jays scored twice, Buchholz retired 11 of 12, walking one batter.

The Red Sox had two on and one out in the first and second, but Buehrle escaped both jams.

NOTES: The Blue Jays placed OF Rajai Davis on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique muscle before the game and recalled RHP Chad Jenkins from Double-A New Hampshire. ... Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan said he needs season-ending surgery on his right forearm. The recovery time is expected to be six to nine months. ... Neither team had BP on the field with showers in the area. ... Heather Abbott, of Newport, R.I., who was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Boston C Jarrod Saltalamacchia. ... Buchholz remains unbeaten at 6-0.

Mark Buehrle  (Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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