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Buehrle sharp as Blue Jays down Rays 3-0

Mark Buerhle shut the Rays' offense out on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field

Brian Blanco

Mark Buehrle silenced the Rays’ bats and Jose Bautista homered twice on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field as the Rays fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0. Buehrle, who threw a perfect game against the Rays on July 23, 2009, was sharp all game, limiting the Rays to four hits and a single walk. Buehrle struck out eleven, only the second time in his long career that he struck ten or more batters in a game. Buehrle kept his pitch count down, striking out Rays and inducing weak contact. When the Rays did make solid contact, they hit balls right to Blue Jay defenders.

Buehrle was unable to finish what he started, leaving the game with two outs in the ninth and 108 pitches. Sergio Santos walked Evan Longoria,who was on base twice and made several nice defensive plays, before he was replaced by Brett Cecil. Cecil struck out pinch hitter Matt Joyce to end the ninth with two men left on base.

Matt Moore was tagged with two runs in the fourth and struggled with his command all night, avoiding jams in the first, fifth, and sixth, with McGee finishing the sixth for Moore.  Moore worked inefficiently compared to Buehrle, throwing 106 pitches in 5.2 innings.

Logan Forsythe got the start against the left-handed Buehrle and had two of the Rays’ four hits in his first two at bats.

Gomes and McGee finished the sixth inning, Josh Lueke gave up Bautista's second home run in the seventh inning and Heath Bell worked the eighth before Grant Balfour ran into trouble during a 21 pitch ninth.

The Rays' pitching staff worked around constant base runners, stranding twelve Jays on the basepaths. The real trouble for the Rays was a lack of offense with Buerhle on the mound. Buerhle caught Rays' batters looking for eight of his eleven strikeouts. Jose Bautista finished with two homers for his 22nd career multihomer game.

The Rays return to action tomorrow at 7 PM at Tropicana Field to try to salvage a split in the opening series of the year.