The Kansas City slugger has enjoyed success against Buehrle in the past, but the Toronto Blue Jays starter has won five straight decisions as he seeks to help end the Royals' five-game win streak Friday night at Rogers Centre.
Butler was 0 for 3 with a walk in Thursday's 3-1 victory at Minnesota after going 12 for 26 with two homers and seven RBIs over his previous six contests. He's hitting .358 with five homers and 16 RBIs this month for Kansas City (69-64), which is six games behind Oakland for the AL's second wild card with three other teams ahead of it.
"I couldn't even tell you who's ahead of us," manager Ned Yost said. "My focus is if we win everything else takes care of itself."
The Royals will see a familiar nemesis in Buehrle (10-7, 4.08 ERA), who has faced them a major league-high 49 times since the start of 2000. They last faced the former White Sox starter in 2011.
Butler has faced Buehrle more than any pitcher other than Detroit's Justin Verlander . The Royals designated hitter is 20 for 57 (.351) with three homers against the left-hander.
Alex Gordon has the second-most at-bats against Buehrle among available Kansas City hitters, going 7 for 28. Gordon is 8 for 22 with two homers and seven RBIs during the Royals' winning streak.
Buehrle is also streaking, going 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA in his last seven outings. He gave up one run over eight innings with seven strikeouts to earn Sunday's 2-1 victory at Houston, joining the Yankees' CC Sabathia with 13 straight seasons with at least 10 wins for the longest active streak in the majors.
"I'd rather forego some of the personal stuff for being in a better position than where we are right now," Buehrle said. "At the end of the day when the season is over and you look at the season, I feel like I am having a decent season, but I have six or seven starts left, so I have to finish strongly and get as many wins as I can."
Kansas City has outscored its opponents 34-8 during this win streak, including a 17-3 margin in a three-game sweep at Minnesota this week.
"This was a nice series for us," Yost said. "We did everything really well, we pitched well, swung the bats well, played solid defense."
Yost gave catcher Salvador Perez the day off from starting Thursday. Perez singled as a pinch hitter and has 12 hits in his last 23 at-bats.
Perez figures to be back behind the plate for Ervin Santana (8-7, 3.21), who is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his last five starts at Toronto. Santana is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA in eight outings since the All-Star break, with the Royals winning six of them.
Brett Lawrie is 1 for 8 against the right-hander but is hitting .370 in August.
Toronto (60-74) has won three of four following a seven-game slide. The Blue Jays have taken eight of the last 11 matchups, including two of three at Kansas City from April 12-14.
|Kansas City Royals|
|August 13, 2013||Mike Moustakas||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|August 11, 2013||Miguel Tejada||60-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|August 09, 2013||Lorenzo Cain||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 04, 2013||Salvador Perez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 04, 2013||David Lough||Day-to-Day||Right quad tightness|
|August 04, 2013||Salvador Perez||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|August 21, 2013||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left hip bone bruise|
|August 21, 2013||Maicer Izturis||60-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Maicer Izturis||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained left ankle|
|August 17, 2013||Jose Reyes||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 12, 2013||Colby Rasmus||15-Day DL||Left oblique strain|
|August 10, 2013||Juan Perez||60-Day DL||Torn UCL ligament, left elbow|
TORONTO (AP) -- Mark Buehrle 's stomach wasn't feeling too good. His arm, however, was in exceptional shape.
Buehrle pitched seven shutout innings to win his sixth straight decision and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Kansas City 3-2 on Friday night, ending the Royals' winning streak at five games.
Buehrle didn't stick around to speak to reporters after the game, citing an upset stomach. But all those who remained had plenty of praise for the veteran left-hander.
"We just couldn't get any hits off him, couldn't get anything rolling," Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon said.
Adam Lind drove in two runs for the Blue Jays, who have won 10 of 14 meetings with Kansas City dating to 2011. Second baseman Ryan Goins made a diving play for the final out with two runners aboard.
The Royals, who came in six games behind Oakland for the second AL wild-card berth, lost for the first time since Aug. 24 against Washington, the final defeat in a seven-game skid.
"This one's not overly frustrating," manager Ned Yost said. "You don't ever want to lose at this time of year, but it was a good game. We fought to the end, it just didn't happen."
Buehrle (11-7) allowed four hits, walked one and struck out five to match his longest winning streak since 2005, when he won a career-best nine consecutive decisions. He's 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past eight outings and has gone 8-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 14 home starts this season.
"He's got so many different weapons," Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia said. "He's so good at executing a plan."
Thanks to Buehrle's brisk, efficient outing, the game was completed in 2 hours, 24 minutes.
"He works quick, and once he gets in a groove he just gets in that rhythm," Gordon said. "You look up and it's the eighth inning and it's 8 o'clock."
Arencibia said Buehrle isn't bothered when opposing batters try to disrupt his pace by stepping out of the box.
"A lot of teams try to take their time, call timeout and try to get him off his rhythm," Arencibia said. "It doesn't faze him, really. It's funny because I see teams try to do that and I know he doesn't care. He's just ready to pitch."
Brett Cecil and Sergio Santos worked the eighth before Casey Janssen finished for his 25th save in 27 chances.
Mike Moustakas hit a leadoff single in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Chris Getz . Pinch-hitter David Lough popped out before Jarrod Dyson singled. Pinch-hitter George Kottaras lined out sharply to center, and Janssen ended it by getting Gordon to ground out, with Goins diving for the ball and throwing from his knees.
Goins went 1 for 4 and has hit safely in all seven games he's played since being promoted from Triple-A Buffalo.
"He's done a terrific job," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "There's no panic with the kid. He carries himself like he belongs."
Ervin Santana (8-8) was the hard-luck loser. He allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in seven innings, extending his winless streak to five starts. The right-hander walked two and struck out six.
Toronto took the lead with a two-run first. After leadoff batter Jose Reyes flied out on the first pitch, Goins reached on an error by former Blue Jays infielder Emilio Bonifacio at second base. Goins went to third on Edwin Encarnacion 's double, and Lind followed with a two-run single.
"The pitch to Lind wasn't a bad pitch," Yost said. "It was kind of middle-away a little bit and he just served it up the middle for the two runs."
Toronto made it 3-0 in the fifth when Anthony Gose hit a leadoff triple and scored on Goins' infield single, a hot shot that Moustakas couldn't handle cleanly at third.
The Royals rallied with two runs off Cecil in the eighth. Alcides Escobar singled and went to third on a base hit by Gordon, then scored on Bonifacio's sacrifice bunt. Replays showed that Bonifacio beat the throw to first, but he was called out by umpire Will Little, bringing Yost out for an argument.
"He wasn't doing much talking, I was," Yost said when asked what kind of explanation Little offered.
Eric Hosmer chased Cecil with an RBI single before Santos came on to end the threat. He got some help from third baseman Brett Lawrie , who made a spectacular barehanded catch and throw on Billy Butler 's chopper for the second out.
NOTES: Buehrle made his 50th career start against Kansas City. ... Moustakas returned to the lineup after missing the past three games with an illness. ... Royals C Salvador Perez also returned to the starting lineup. Perez did not start Thursday but came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Bonifacio is 9 for 9 in stolen base attempts since being traded from Toronto to Kansas City on Aug. 14. ... Royals infielder Chris Getz celebrated his 30th birthday. ... Gibbons was Kansas City's bench coach from 2009-11.