St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Mark Buehrle was masterful in his first start of the season, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
Buehrle (1-0) walked one and allowed just four hits, while fanning 11 over 8 2/3 innings of work. Buehrle missed out on his 29th career complete game by one out. Brett Lawrie couldn't reel in a Ben Zobrist line drive with two gone in the ninth, which sent Buehrle to the bench.
"That ball was running, ducking, and darting," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Sergio Santos walked Evan Longoria, then Brett Cecil fanned pinch-hitter Matt Joyce to earn his first save and finish off the shutout.
Jose Bautista hit two solo blasts and Dioner Navarro was 2-for-5 with an RBI for the Blue Jays, who took game three of a four-game set after the teams split the first two.
"For the most part their offense was centered around one guy. He can do that kind of stuff," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore (0-1) lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and picking up four strikeouts while walking three. Logan Forsythe went 2-for-3 with a double, the lone extra-base hit of the game for Tampa Bay.
After three scoreless frames the Blue Jays broke through in the fourth when Bautista smashed a lead off homer to left center. Edwin Encarnacion followed up with a double before Navarro found a hole in right field to plate Encarnacion.
Lawrie earned a two-out walk in the top of the sixth before Maicer Izturis nailed a double to left, ending Moore's outing. Brandon Gomes replaced Moore but intentionally walked Adam Lind, the only batter he faced. Jake McGee was then brought in with the bases loaded. The moves paid off as McGee got Melky Cabrera to fly out to center.
Bautista went deep again in the seventh on a 2-2 pitch with one out, which gave him his 22nd career multi-home run game. Buehrle headed into the bottom of the inning working with a 3-0 cushion.
After allowing a lead off single to Evan Longoria, Buehrle set down the next seven batters before the Zobrist liner.
Buehrle recorded his first double-digit strikeout start since Apr. 16, 2005 against Seattle for the White Sox, when he fanned 12 ... Toronto upped its record to 130-148 all-time against the Rays ... Izturis was 2-for-4 with a double for the Jays ... The Jays went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, compared to Tampa Bay going 0-for-6 with RISP ... Toronto left 12 runners on base.