Reyes returns in Blue Jays victory over Indians
Jose Reyes #7 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on April 19, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP)
CLEVELAND — It was a day of celebration for the Blue Jays.
By virtue of the 5-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon, the Jays posted wins in the opening two games which secured the series triumph as well as a winning record on their nine game road trip — they are 5-3 with Sunday’s finale to go.
Mark Buehrle made the start for the Jays and picked up the win with seven-plus stellar innings to run his record to 4-0.
His battery mate, Dioner Navarro also had a big day as he poked out two hits and drove in three runs, the big one a two-run single in the seventh that opened up a 5-0 lead.
To cap it all off, Jose Reyes was back in the lineup at his shortstop position for the first time since Opening Day.
Reyes contributed by going 1-for-5 and in the second inning, drove in his first run of the season with a single to centre. He also made a trio of smooth plays in the field, each time showing off his cannon arm.
In the four starts — two of them scoreless — Buehrle has allowed just two earned runs and on Saturday lowered his ERA to 0.64.
The veteran left-hander was looking to go 4-0 in his career for the third time.
The best start that Buehrle has posted in his career occurred in 2009 with the Chicago White Sox when he went 5-0 through his opening six starts. His first loss that season was on May 13.
In 2002, again with the White Sox, Buehrle opened up 4-0 in his first four starts
Against the Tribe he allowed four hits, walked three, hit one batter and struck out three.
As well as twirling a pretty solid game, Buehrle put on a fielding clinic, snaring four grounders and turning them into outs.
Buehrle came out for the eighth but after a leadoff single followed by a four-pitch walk, he was lifted for Esmil Rogers who quelled the rally in style by striking out the first two batters and ended the inning on a fly ball to centre.
For the first time, say since opening day, manager John Gibbons enjoyed filling out his lineup card.
Writing Reyes name atop the lineup was the pleasing aspect of his morning.
Juan Francisco, the latest newcomer, arrived from Buffalo via Pawtucket and batted ninth.
The presence of the two, Reyes at the top and Francisco, who has replaced Lind (on the DL with lower back pain) lengthens the entire lineup and supplies a top of the line hitter in Reyes and a guy with thump in Francisco.
It is certainly a more complete and menacing lineup than one which featured the likes of Diaz and Goins at the bottom of the order.
Reyes has been absent since Opening Day when in his first at-bat he tweaked his left hammy running to first.
“It’s the way it’s supposed to look,” Gibbons said of his lineup that he employed Saturday against the Indians.
“He adds a little more offence. It’s good to have him back.
“Francisco can handle the bat. He’s got some juice in that bat so hopefully he can add something while Lindy’s out. But that lineup (the one he used on Opening Day) lasted a third of an inning.”
The Jays gave Buehrle a 2-0 lead before his first pitch.
With one out, Melky Cabrera tripled to right centre. Jose Bautista followed with a high pop back of first. Nick Swisher went out to make the play, appeared to lose the ball in the sun and by the time he located it again he was twisted around and unable to squeeze the ball that fell in for an RBI single.
Bautista moved to second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a ground out and then was plated by Navarro who hit a one-hop scorcher to Swisher that the Indians first baseman couldn’t handle.
A good inning for the Jays and a bad one for Swisher.
The Jays made it 3-0 in the second when Reyes singled up the middle to score Lawrie from third and Dioner capped off the scoring with a clutch two-out, two-run single in the seventh that chased starter Corey Kluber.