(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Blue Jays are hoping to quickly turn around a horrendous two-week stretch when they battle the Seattle Mariners on Saturday in the second game of a three-contest series at Rogers Centre.
Mark Buehrle takes the stage as the starter for Toronto, hoping to improve a 5-3 record but to lower his earned run average. His counterpart for Seattle will be James Paxton.
Paxton is fresh off his best outing of the season when he shut down the Red Sox at home on Sunday. The lefty lasted eight innings and surrendered five hits with no runs allowed in his team's 5-0 blanking of Boston.
It was Paxton's second straight win, which leveled his record at 2-2 and brought his ERA down to 3.59. He's knocked down 37 batters via strikeout, and has walked 18 in 47 2/3 innings pitched.
It was Paxton's second consecutive start in which he didn't allow a single run.
The veteran lefty Buehrle endured his deepest outing this season on Sunday, but his Blue Jays dropped a 4-2 outing to the Astros. Buehrle picked up the loss, ending his personal two-game win streak. He pitched eight innings and gave up six hits and four runs.
His ERA jumped up to 5.36 on the season, and his record dipped down to 5-3. Buehrle hasn't been much of a strikeout pitcher in his career, and it's showing again this season. In eight turns on the mound, he has just 23 punch outs and 11 walks.
Toronto got on the board first Friday night, but the Mariners were able to pull ahead thanks to a loaded fourth inning and a Nelson Cruz insurance run in the sixth. Seattle won the first game of the series, 4-3.
Felix Hernandez picked up his seventh win of the season, improving to 7-1 with a dominating seven-inning performance which saw him give up four hits and just one run with eight strikeouts.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a home run for the Blue Jays in the first inning, which would be the only run Hernandez would allow. Logan Morrison tripled in the fourth to plate two, and Mike Zunino drove in Morrison for the 3-1 advantage. Cruz homered to center in the sixth, giving him 17 on the year. He went into Friday's clash with a league-leading 16 blasts.
A Chris Colabello two-run home run in the ninth put Toronto down by one, but the hosts couldn't complete the comeback.
Friday night's contest was the first between the two sides this season.