Despite the Toronto Blue Jays' recent struggles, facing them might not offer the Minnesota Twins a good opportunity to end their current slide.
Looking to end their woes in Toronto, the Twins hope to avoid a sixth consecutive loss Friday night against a Blue Jays team trying to snap its own three-game skid.
Minnesota (36-46) opened an eight-game homestand by winning two of three from Kansas City, but dropped the finale to the Royals before being outscored 29-14 while losing four straight to the New York Yankees .
"It was a disappointing homestand," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website.
The Twins have lost 10 of 13 and are mired in their longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from May 14-24. They'll play the final 10 before the All-Star break on the road, where they've averaged 3.0 runs while losing eight of 10.
Minnesota has lost 15 of 19 to the Blue Jays (41-44), including seven of eight at Rogers Centre. The Twins haven't won any of their eight series in Toronto since 2005.
Canada native Justin Morneau homered twice for Minnesota on Thursday, but rookie Kyle Gibson was tagged for eight runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-5 loss to the Yankees. Those were Morneau's only hits in 14 at-bats during that series.
He's a lifetime .207 hitter at Toronto, but six of his 18 hits have been home runs.
Teammate Joe Mauer went 3 for 29 with nine strikeouts on the homestand following an eight-game stretch in which he hit .444. He's 2 for 21 in his last six at Toronto.
Morneau and Mauer are batting a combined .207 against scheduled Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle (4-5, 4.81 ERA). The left-hander has not faced the Twins since 2011, when he allowed seven runs - one earned - over 30 2-3 innings to go 2-1 in four starts against them.
Buehrle is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his last four at home, but his two most recent outings were on the road and he went 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 5-4 loss at Boston on Sunday.
"I made some pitches and they found holes," Buehrle told the Blue Jays' official website. "That's why it's frustrating."
Toronto opened a four-game home set against Detroit with an 8-3 victory Monday but was outscored 24-9 while losing the next three. The Blue Jays, who got six hits in Thursday's 11-1 loss to the Tigers, are 3-8 since winning 11 in a row.
"That feels like a long time ago," manager John Gibbons said of the franchise record-tying streak.
Bautista and Encarnacion are hitting a combined .375 (9 for 24) with three homers and three doubles against scheduled Minnesota starter Kevin Correia (6-5, 4.08).
Correia is looking to bounce back after he allowed five runs in five innings while not factoring in the decision of a 9-8 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. The right-hander had a 2.55 ERA in his previous three starts.
He's 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays but hasn't faced them since 2011.
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||15-Day DL||Medial meniscus tear, left knee|
|July 01, 2013||Josh Willingham||Day-to-Day||Left knee soreness|
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 19, 2013||Mike Pelfrey||15-Day DL||Back strain|
|June 11, 2013||Jared Burton||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 28, 2013||Melky Cabrera||15-Day DL||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 27, 2013||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
TORONTO (AP) -- Mark Buerhle made his 50th start against the Minnesota Twins one to remember.
Jose Bautista hit his 20th home run, Buehrle pitched seven shutout innings to win for the first time in three starts and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the slumping Twins 4-0 Friday.
Buehrle (5-5) allowed six hits, walked none and struck out five. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his past five home starts.
"I had everything working," Buehrle said. "Me and (catcher J.P. Arencibia) worked well together. The tempo was there, I was making pitches when I needed to."
Buehrle hasn't allowed an earned run in his past 35 2-3 innings against the Twins, dating to 2011.
"He was outstanding tonight," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's had some really good outings this year, but that was up with the best of them."
Brett Cecil worked the eighth and Dustin McGowan finished as Minnesota was shut out for the seventh time.
"Not a very good ball game for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Buehrle shut us down."
Jose Reyes had three hits, two RBIs and a stolen base as the Blue Jays snapped a three-game skid and won for just the fourth time in 12 games since matching a franchise record with an 11-game winning streak.
"He's one of the better guys in baseball, offensively and defensively," Buehrle said of Reyes. "He puts the ball in play and makes things happen."
Bautista had three hits and two RBIs, handing the Twins their sixth straight loss. Minnesota has dropped 11 of its past 14 overall and is a season-worst 11 games below .500 at 36-47.
"We've got to get back to relaxing and having some fun, seeing some guys smile," Gardenhire said. "There's too much tension here."
The Twins have lost 17 of 23 to the Blue Jays, including eight of nine at Rogers Centre. They haven't won any of their eight series in Toronto since 2005.
"It seems like the air goes out of us a little too quick," Gardenhire said. "We've got to be able to rebound better, we've got to relax a little bit. There's too much tension in our dugout. I told the boys `This is baseball. We're making it like a job right now. It's got to be baseball."'
Minnesota put runners at second and third with one out in the first, but Buehrle escaped by striking out Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe .
"When the changeup is down and working, it's going to be a good day," Buehrle said. "I was strike one a lot tonight and getting ahead in the count. I could throw my pitches when I needed to."
Toronto stranded two runners in each of the first two innings against Twins starter Kevin Correia , but Bautista got them on the board in the third with a solo homer.
"I threw him a bad pitch right there," Correia said. "The home run was just a hanging curveball. Obviously he's a very good power hitter and he hit it out."
Maicer Izturis and Arencibia drew back-to-back walks to begin the fourth and moved up on Munenori Kawasaki 's sacrifice before scoring on Reyes' double. Bautista followed with an RBI single.
"Those two walks are kind of what killed me," Correia said.
Correia (6-6) allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out three.
This was the first of 10 straight road games for the Twins, who'll visit Tampa Bay for four and the New York Yankees for three before the All-Star break. Minnesota is 15-24 away from home.
NOTES: Blue Jays OF Melky Cabrera (left knee) ran for the first time Friday since going on the DL June 28. Manager John Gibbons said Cabrera will go through a minor league rehab stint before rejoining the Blue Jays. ... Gibbons confirmed that Todd Redmond will start Sunday in place of Chien-Ming Wang, who cleared waivers Friday and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo. ... The roof was closed when the game began but opened in the second inning.