At this time last year, Mark Buehrle was preparing for his first start with a new team hanging its playoff hopes on his shoulders. Now he's doing it all over again.
After a tumultuous offseason, Buehrle will make his Toronto Blue Jays debut Thursday night in the finale of a season-opening three-game series against the visiting Cleveland Indians .
After spending his first 12 major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Buehrle signed a four-year deal with Miami before the 2012 campaign as the Marlins made several high-profile acquisitions to fill the seats in their new stadium and make a run at a return to the playoffs.
The Marlins finished in last place, however, and cleaned house over the winter, sending Buehrle, All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes , and former All-Star pitcher Josh Johnson to the Blue Jays. Now Toronto (0-2) is hoping for better results as it tries to live up to the expectations created by the offseason activity.
Likely excited to put the Miami mess behind him, Buehrle isn't getting caught up in the hype surrounding Toronto's new look.
"I think I've come to realize that making expectations or putting stuff where we're going to get to isn't a good thing because every year I feel like we have a good team," Buehrle told the Blue Jays' official website. "The last couple of years we haven't gotten to where we want to get to. Coming into a new team, on paper we look good."
That may be the case, but the Blue Jays are still looking for their first win and are in danger of dropping their first three for the first time since 2004. They have managed only three runs and nine hits after falling 3-2 in 11 innings on Wednesday night.
"This team's built to score runs," manager John Gibbons said. "We haven't done that yet. But we're going to hit."
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista isn't panicking either, denying that the team has been affected by heightened expectations.
"No," he said. "That's a big N-O. Both capital letters."
Cleveland is in position for its first 3-0 start since it won its first six in 1998, thanks to Mark Reynolds ' tiebreaking home run in the 11th on Wednesday.
"I'm just happy I got my first hit," said Reynolds, who was 0 for 7 with three strikeouts before the game-winner. "I didn't care if it was a go-ahead homer or not."
Reynolds is 1 for 6 with three strikeouts in his career against Buehrle.
Buehrle has made 47 career starts against the Indians. The left-hander was 2-2 with a 6.12 ERA in four starts against them in 2011, his last season with the White Sox.
Like Buehrle, Brett Myers will be making his debut for his new club. The right-hander went 3-8 with 19 saves and a 4.24 ERA in 70 relief appearances with Houston and the White Sox last season before signing with Cleveland in January.
Myers has a 3.97 ERA in six career games - one start - against Toronto.
|April 03, 2013||Scott Kazmir||Day-to-Day||Sore abdominal muscle|
|March 31, 2013||Frank Herrmann||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 25, 2013||Frank Herrmann||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 25, 2013||Jason Giambi||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|March 14, 2013||Frank Herrmann||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 11, 2013||Blake Wood||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|March 27, 2013||Dustin McGowan||15-Day DL||Sore right shoulder|
|March 25, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Strained rib|
|March 22, 2013||Drew Hutchison||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Michael Schwimer||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|March 22, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Strained left ribcage|
|February 25, 2013||Kyle Drabek||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
TORONTO (AP) -- The roof was closed at Rogers Centre, but there sure seemed to be a strong breeze blowing out of the dome.
J.P. Arencibia hit two solo homers, Edwin Encarnacion added a three-run shot and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 10-8 on Thursday night, avoiding their first 0-3 start since 2004.
"I don't care what level of baseball you're at, that first (win) is the toughest one to get," manager John Gibbons said. "Everybody wants to get off to a good start and it's tough to come by."
Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer and Colby Rasmus also connected as the Blue Jays went deep five times.
"The wind was blowing out, apparently," joked Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle , who surrendered two solo homers.
Arencibia had three hits with two RBIs. He had a second-deck drive to center in the second and a tiebreaking shot to left in the sixth, his seventh career multihomer game.
"I've always said that home runs win in this business and tonight's a perfect example," Gibbons said.
It was a welcome burst of offense by Toronto, held to three runs and nine total hits in their first two games after a winter overhaul remade the roster and boosted expectations for a playoff push.
"I think everyone has an idea of what this offense is capable of," Arencibia said. "Two games don't make your season and no one's worried. Everyone knows what we have in this clubhouse."
Buehrle echoed that, saying the win might get Jays fans to "step off the ledge a little bit."
Toronto's faithful might have to hold their breath a little longer, however, after Bautista left the game at the end of the eighth with a twisted ankle, suffered when he stepped on first base while beating out a double play relay.
"We don't think it's a big deal," said Gibbons, adding that Bautista will be reevaluated before Friday's game against Boston.
Bautista called it "a tiny little tweak" and said he doesn't expect to miss any time.
"Hopefully tomorrow I'll wake up great and I'll be in the lineup and go beat the Red Sox," he said.
Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds hit solo homers for the Indians, who were trying to start a season with three straight road wins for the first time since 1998.
Steve Delabar (1-0) got two outs for the win and Casey Janssen finished in the ninth for his first save.
Consecutive doubles by Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher gave the Indians a 1-0 lead in the first, but Toronto answered in the bottom half when Bautista drilled a two-run homer to left, his second in two days.
Arencibia's leadoff drive in the second put Toronto up 3-1, but the Indians tied it in the fourth on back-to-back homers by Santana and Reynolds, whose 11th inning blast decided Wednesday's 3-2 win for the Indians.
Encarnacion lined a three-run shot that just cleared the left field wall in the fifth, putting the Blue Jays up 6-3, but Cleveland answered again in the sixth. Santana hit an RBI double and Lonnie Chisenhall chased Buehrle with a two-run double to left, tying it at 6.
Buehrle allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.
"Seven basehits, six extra-basehits, that's not me," Buehrle said.
Arencibia broke the tie with another second deck drive to begin the bottom of the sixth, bringing Cody Allen out of the Cleveland bullpen to replace Brett Myers . One out later, Rasmus hit a solo drive to right.
Emilio Bonifacio followed with a groundball double to center, then scored on a throwing error by Reynolds, giving Toronto a 9-6 lead. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Adam Lind , but he flied out to end the inning.
Myers (0-1) gave up seven runs and seven hits in five-plus innings in losing his sixth straight road decision. He walked two and struck out none.
"I couldn't get the ball down tonight, everything was up," Myers said. "Everything I threw was belt high or mast high and when I tried to get the ball down, I'd bounce it."
Reynolds hit an RBI single off Esmil Rogers in the seventh and Kipnis cut it to 9-8 with an RBI double off Darren Oliver in the eighth. Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs but second baseman Bonifacio ended the inning by ranging into shallow center to throw out Santana.
"Defensively, Bonifacio saved that game for us today," Arencibia said.
Toronto added an insurance run off Matt Albers in the eighth when Reyes scored from second on Bautista's fielder's choice grounder.
NOTES: Cleveland placed LHP Scott Kazmir Indians on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right ribcage muscle, retroactive to April 2. Rookie RHP Trevor Bauer is expected to start in Kazmir's place Saturday at Tampa Bay. ... Toronto's Jose Reyes was shaken up after sliding headfirst into the shin of SS Asdrubal Cabrera on a steal of second in the fifth, but stayed in the game. ... The Blue Jays host former manager John Farrell and Red Sox on Friday night. Toronto RHP Josh Johnson will start against LHP Felix Doubront .