Canadian-born lefty Erik Bedard returns to his home province when the Houston Astros visit the Toronto Blue Jays to open a four- game series on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.
The 34-year-old was born in Navan, Ontario, and is 2-4 in 11 career meetings with the Blue Jays, including one win in four starts at Rogers Centre, where he's posted a 4.05 earned run average across 26 2/3 innings.
The former Baltimore Orioles draft pick posted an unusual line in his most recent start, allowing no hits in 6 1/3 innings against Seattle, but nonetheless taking a 4-2 loss after walking five batters and allowing three runs, one earned.
He struck out 10, but still saw his record fall to 3-7 while his ERA ticked down from 4.61 to 4.41.
Bedard's last win came June 26 against St. Louis. Since then, he's lost four straight starts and allowed 15 runs in 23 innings while the Astros have been outscored, 22-6.
He's opposed by fellow veteran lefty Mark Buehrle, who's dropped two straight starts since opening July with a 4-0 win over Minnesota.
The 34-year-old, born 17 days after Bedard in 1979, allowed six hits in seven scoreless innings in that gem against the Twins, but has given up 19 hits and 12 runs in 13 innings since while losing to Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Buehrle is 4-2 in 10 starts this season in Toronto and 5-6 there in 16 career starts.
Against the Astros, Buehrle won his lone career start after allowing a single run on six hits in eight innings.
On Wednesday in Houston, Coco Crisp's two-run homer in the seventh inning lifted the Oakland Athletics over the Astros, 4-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Carlos Corporan and Jose Altuve homered for the Astros, who went 1-5 on a six- game homestand.
Bud Norris got the start for Houston and gave up three runs on four hits while striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings. Travis Blackley (1-1) gave up the homer to Crisp to take the loss.
In Toronto, Mark Ellis and Yasiel Puig each homered as part of a five-run 10th inning that vaulted the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers to a three-game interleague sweep of the Blue Jays with an 8-3 triumph.
Brett Lawrie plated a pair of runs for the slumping Blue Jays, who have lost a season-high seven straight games.
The Astros have won five of the first six games played by the two franchises, notching a three-game sweep in Houston in 2005 and taking two of three in Toronto in 2011.