Two pitching performances that stood out above the rest in another day of baseball were the Toronto Blue Jays beating the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 as Mark Buehrle became the first pitcher to win nine times this season, while the St. Louis Cardinals shut out the New York Yankees 6-0 as Lance Lynn pitched the first complete game of his career.
Buehrle improved to 9-1 this season despite not putting on the best of performances, although it didn’t matter with the kind of run support he got. The Rays did score twice in the 4th inning to take a 2-0 lead, but the Blue Jays responded with six runs in the 4th and the 5th, including home runs from Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion, reaching 16 homers this season. The Rays fought back, but not well enough, and Juan Francisco added another home run to cap off the win.
Buehrle pitched for 6.2 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs while striking out three. His ERA suffered a bit, rising to 2.33 this season, but he has been dominant on the mound regardless of what his run support has helped him with, as the Blue Jays lead the AL East with a 31-22 record and ranking in the top 5 of most hitting categories, including second in total runs and slugging with a .453.
The Blue Jays have now won eight in a row and have scored 19 runs in two games against the Rays, who were heading in confident to the Rogers Centre after a great series against the Red Sox. However, there’s a huge difference between the Blue Jays and the rest of the AL East at the moment, as even a 12-for-35 hitting day from the Rays wasn’t enough to pierce through the thick armor of big hitting Toronto has to offer right now.
In St. Louis, the Yankees seemed to have wasted all their ammunition on the first game of the series, winning 6-4. The second day in Missouri didn’t end too well for them, getting only five hits off of Lance Lynn, winning for the sixth time this season as he struck out only two and walked three in nine innings of dominant pitching and a lot of defensive help, while his lineup had a very comfortable time against David Phelps.
The Cards built their lead slowly, enjoying errors from Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts to lead by four runs after the third inning. Then home runs from Allen Craig, a huge disappointment so far this season, and from Matt Holliday, only his third of the season and first in 22 games, capped the six run win and putting the Cardinals at six games above .500, now only 1.5 games behind the Brewers and winning 7 of their last 10 games.
Lynn is the first National League pitcher to shut out the Yankees since 1997 when Dave Mlicki (Mets), Greg Maddux (Braves) and Mike Grace (Phillies) did so. The last Cardinals pitcher to shut out the Yankees in either the regular season or postseason was Ernie White, who threw a six-hitter against them in Game 3 of the 1942 World Series. Bob Gibson was the last Cardinals pitcher to pitch a complete game against them in none other than Game 7 of the 1964 World Series.