TORONTO – Carlos Villanueva struck out a career-best eight in six scoreless innings, Jose Bautista had two hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 3-0 Sunday afternoon.
Making his third start of the season after working in relief for much of the year, Villanueva allowed just three hits and walked five as the Blue Jays won their first series since taking two of three at Miami from June 22-24.
Villanueva (3-0) issued back-to-back walks to Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley in the sixth, then ended his outing by fanning Casey Kotchman. That was one of four innings the right-hander ended with a strikeout.
Jason Frasor worked the seventh and Darren Oliver pitched the final two innings for his first save as the Blue Jays wrapped up their seventh shutout of the season.
Cleveland starter Derek Lowe came in 0-4 with an 8.88 ERA in his past five road starts and, despite pitching better, was unable to snap his losing streak. The right-hander allowed three runs and three hits in six innings, walked four and struck out five.
The struggling Lowe (8-7) dropped to 2-6 in his past 10 outings and has not won consecutive starts since May 10 and 15.
Lowe retired the first six Blue Jays batters in order but came unglued as Toronto batted around in a three-run third.
Kelly Johnson led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Carlos Santana before scoring on J.P. Arencibia's one-out single. Arencibia advanced on Brett Lawrie's groundout and scored on a base hit by Colby Rasmus. Jose Bautista singled Rasmus to third and stole second before Edwin Encarnacion walked to load the bases. Adam Lind capped the rally with a walk, scoring Rasmus.
Lowe recovered to retire the next six batters and used a double play to erase a leadoff walk in the sixth before being replaced by Joe Smith.
The loss dropped the Indians below .500 on the road at 21-22. Cleveland has lost 16 of its past 24 away from home.
NOTES: Blue Jays RHP Sergio Santos has been shut down for the season and will undergo shoulder surgery after experiencing pain during a throwing session on Saturday. ... Indians LHP Rafael Perez (strained back muscle) pitched one scoreless inning for Double-A Akron on Saturday, followed by a brief bullpen session. He's scheduled to throw again Monday, manager Manny Acta said. ... Brantley extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a leadoff double in the second. He went 2 for 3 with a second double in the ninth, raising his average to .302.