Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle made his first appearance in front of his former hometown crowd Saturday afternoon.
The Jays’ starter received a nice ovation from the Chicago crowd as he took the mound, one that even surprised him a little.
“The reception I got, I was kind of thinking it might be good, but what they did, coming off the field every time I ran out, to hear people cheering, it was exceptional,” Buehrle said after the game. “It’s one of those things that I didn’t want to (tick) anybody off on the other team, but at the same time the reaction I was getting from the crowd, I felt it was right.”
While he didn’t earn the decision, Buehrle’s efforts were key in helping his current club pick up an important win, snapping a four-game skid in the process. With the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners losing, the Jays were able to gain some ground on them while also keeping pace with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers in the division and Wild Card races, respectively.
The Jays opened the scoring in the second on a sacrifice fly by Dioner Navarro, and followed that up with an RBI single by Nolan Reimold. The lead extended to 3-0 on another RBI single, this time by Jose Reyes in the fifth inning.
Buehrle pitched 5 1-3 innings of three-run ball, leaving after surrendering the 3-0 Jays’ lead when the Chicago White Sox tied it in the 5th inning, but his teammates picked him up with a three-run seventh inning, with Melky Cabrera‘s two-run double and capped by Jose Bautista‘s RBI single.
After being one of the first pitchers to reach 11 wins on the season, Buehrle has yet to reach the 12 win mark for the season, a testament to the team’s recent struggles.
Hopefully, the club can build some momentum off of this win and begin to close the gap that has opened between them and the Orioles, though a Wild Card berth seems more likely at this point.