Jays turn to Buehrle to try to avoid sweep by Astros

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The Sports Network
8/25/2013 11:19:19 AM
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(Sports Network) - Toronto Blue Jays hope to snap a seven-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon and avoid getting swept in a three-game series by the Houston Astros.

Mark Buehrle will get the call on Sunday for the Blue Jays, and since losing back-to-back games in mid-July, he has turned his season around with wins in four of his past six outings to improve his record to 9-7 and lower his ERA to 4.23.

The veteran southpaw was fantastic in his latest outing, yielding just two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Aug. 20, but he was saddled with the no-decision as Toronto fell, 3-2.

The bad news for Buehrle is that he has struggled mightily away from Rogers Centre this season, winning just two of his 13 road starts with a 5.63 ERA.

The Astros will counter with Dallas Keuchel, who is in the midst of a poor sophomore season at 5-7 with a 5.11 ERA. The 25-year-old has been hit hard all season long, scattering 143 hits over 118 innings pitched while coughing up 18 homers.

Keuchel has registered just one win over his last 11 appearances and he's given up four earned runs or more in three straight contests. He most recently allowed eight hits, three walks and four earned runs in four innings of work in an Aug. 17 no-decision versus the Angels.

The lefty earned a win over the Blue Jays back on July 27, but he was roughed up over the course of 7 1/3 innings, allowing 10 hits (three homers) and six earned runs.

The Blue Jays' losing streak continued on Saturday as the Astros got out to a big lead early and eventually cruised to an 8-5 victory.

Houston's offense exploded early on as it found itself up 8-0 heading into the fifth inning. Jason Castro belted two home runs, his 16th and 17th of the season, and finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored.

"The biggest thing that I've really been trying to do this year is stay as consistent as possible and really not deviate from my approach," Castro said. "I've tried to be as simple as possible and it's worked out so far."

Brandon Barnes was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Robbie Grossman and L.J. Hoes both drove in runs as well.

Brad Peacock (3-4) was far from impressive, scattering six hits, two walks and five earned runs over 5 2/3 innings, but it was good enough to earn the win. Chia-Jen Lo pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his second save.

Chien-Ming Wang (1-2) was handed the loss in the spot start, allowing five runs (four earned) in three innings.

Kevin Pillar belted a three-run home run in the fifth inning for his first- career long ball. Edwin Encarnacion also left the yard for the 33rd time this season, giving him a homer in three straight contests.

The Blue Jays won three of the first four games played with the Astros this season between July 25-28. They were also swept in their last trip to Houston, a three-game series from June 10-12, 2005.

Mark Buehrle (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)

Today's Blue Jays lineup vs. Astros

1. Jose Reyes-SS
2. Rajai Davis-CF
3. Edwin Encarnacion-1B
4. Brett Lawrie-3B
5. Mark DeRosa-DH
6. J.P. Arencibia-C
7. Moises Sierra-RF
8. Kevin Pillar-LF
9. Ryan Goins-2B
SP Mark Buehrle

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