CLEVELAND — Mark Buehrle didn’t look very far to assign the blame for Toronto’s 9-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
The veteran left-hander shouldered every bit of it. Buehrle allowed eight runs and 11 hits — including two home runs in 4 1-3 innings.
“It was kind of an embarrassment to go out and get your butt kicked like that,” he said. “I wasn’t missing many bats, the balls were finding the gaps.”
Toronto’s hitters gave Buehrle (3-2) the lead twice, including a 4-1 margin in the third, but he couldn’t hold either and didn’t get through the fifth. It all made for a very un-Buehrle like performance.
“His location’s off, he’s getting too much of the plate and that’s not him,” manager John Gibbons said “When he does that he’s going to get hit.”
Buehrle won his first three starts, but allowed five runs and 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday.
“We gave up a lot of hits, but a lot of singles,” he said. “Obviously, I’m a contact pitcher, they’re going to put the ball in play. I feel like the game in Tampa they were finding holes and didn’t hit too many balls very hard.”
Having been in the majors for 14 seasons, the 36-year-old Buehrle has seen plenty of ups and downs.
“I’ve had bad games before, I’ve had bad stretches,” he said. “All you can do is keep battling and go out there for your next start.”
Michael Brantley hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Brett Hayes added a three-run shot in the fifth. Carlos Carrasco (3-2), making his first start at Progressive Field since being hit in the face by a line drive on April 14, allowed four runs in six innings.
Josh Donaldson and Jason Kipnis hit home runs in the first, which was just the beginning of the offensive outburst.
Donaldson homered on the second pitch of the game while Kipnis hit Buehrle’s sixth pitch for a home run. The feat was last accomplished last May 14 when Gordon Beckham of the Chicago White Sox and Oakland’s John Jaso traded leadoff homers.
Brantley’s first home run of the season off Buehrle broke a 4-4 tie. Hayes added a three-run homer off Andrew Albers, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Buffalo before the game.
Edwin Encarnacion’s RBI double and Kevin Pillar’s two-run triple gave Toronto a 4-1 lead in the third, but Brandon Moss’ two-run double and Lonnie Chisenhall’s RBI groundout tied the game.
Gibbons said RHP Marco Estrada will replace LHP Daniel Norris in the rotation. Norris was optioned to Buffalo before the game. The rookie didn’t allow a run in three innings Thursday, but threw 78 pitches and didn’t come out for the fourth.
Blue Jays: Devon Travis, Toronto’s second baseman and leadoff hitter, missed Friday’s game after taking a ground ball off his left collarbone Thursday.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (sprained right knee) will travel with the team to Kansas City next week to increase baseball activities.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez, who has yet to work six innings in four starts this season, will go against the Indians. He’s allowed four home runs walked 14 in 19 2-3 innings.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber looks for his first win of the season against the Blue Jays. The Cy Young Award winner is 0-3 and the Indians are winless in his five starts. The Indians have scored two runs or fewer in four of Kluber’s starts.