Buehrle takes aim at fifth straight win in opener with Red Sox

( - Mark Buehrle eyes up a historic win Friday night when the Toronto Blue Jays welcome the Boston Red Sox to Rogers Centre for the opener of a three-game set between American League East rivals.

While things have gone well so far this season for Buehrle, Boston's Jake Peavy is still in search of his first win. This marks the fifth time through the rotation for the right-hander. He had given up a total of just four earned runs over his first three starts before getting tagged for five runs on a season-high 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings against Baltimore his last time out.

However, Peavy has a 2.29 ERA over his last five starts against Toronto.

Meanwhile, Buehrle enters with a major league-best 0.64 ERA through four starts. He looks to become the first pitcher in the majors to reach five wins as well as the first Blue Jays pitcher ever to begin a season with five straight victories.

"He's just locked in right now," manager Jay Gibbons said. "He even admitted in spring training he hadn't felt this good in a long time. But he competes, he's a great competitor.

"One thing about Buehrle is he pitches to win, he doesn't pitch for stats. You get guys in this game who pitch for stats. He pitches to win, and you need more guys like that."

In his last start, Buehrle gave up just four hits in seven-plus shutout innings of a 5-0 win at Cleveland.

Toronto will try to avoid its first three-game slide of the season after falling at home to Baltimore on Thursday, 11-4.

Boston has lost three of its last four after Thursday's lopsided 14-5 setback to the division-leading Yankees.

"Every team goes through slumps hitting, goes through slumps defensively," shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "It's part of the game. We're definitely going to get better."

On the injury front, outfielder Shane Victorino was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday after missing the first 22 games of the season with a strained right hamstring. He played right field and batted second in Thursday's game and went 1-for-5 with a double.

"This is something we have been waiting for. Shane's return will help solidify our outfield defense and also the top of the order," manager John Farrell said. "It is good to have him back in the lineup.

Boston went 11-8 against the Blue Jays last season.