One of baseball's most powerful lineups continues to fuel the Toronto Blue Jays' impressive run.
Even one home run might suffice Saturday with Mark Buehrle looking to become the majors' first 11-game winner against the slumping St. Louis Cardinals.Toronto (38-24) has won six in a row and 20 of 24 following Friday's 3-1 victory in the series opener. It was also the club's 12th win in its last 15 home games.The Blue Jays improved their major league-leading home run total to 89 as Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie went deep. Bautista's 15th of the season extended his hitting streak to 12 games, during which he's 19 of 44 with 12 RBIs, while Lawrie's was his third in four games.Jose Reyes was also 3 for 3 with drew two walks.Toronto has hit 39 homers during its 20-4 stretch. Averaging 1.44 home runs, the Blue Jays' pace trails only the 2010 and 2000 clubs, which finished with 257 and 244 homers, respectively."These guys are putting up some pretty radical numbers," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said after his club dropped its sixth straight in the series.Buehrle (10-1, 2.10 ERA) is looking to win his seventh straight decision, a personal streak currently second to his nine-game run from April 16-June 28, 2005. He became baseball's first 10-game winner Sunday, limiting Kansas City to six hits over eight innings in a 4-0 victory.The left-hander won his only interleague start, yielding three hits in seven innings of a 10-0 victory over Philadelphia on May 7. He's 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA in five interleague outings since joining Toronto prior to last season.In his only matchup with St. Louis, Buehrle -- a native of St. Charles, Missouri -- allowed four runs and 10 hits over seven innings in a 13-5 win with the White Sox on June 21, 2006.The Cardinals (31-31), who have lost eight of 10, haven't been below .500 since a 19-20 record after May 12. A loss Saturday would mark the first time they've been below the .500 mark this late in a season since finishing 78-84 in 2007.St. Louis' lone run Friday came on Allen Craig's first-inning single, and beyond the club's first triple play in more than nine years in the sixth, there were few other positives.The Cardinals have failed to score at least three runs in four of six. Matt Holliday, Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina -- the team's No. 2-4 leaders in RBIs -- are just 16 for 99 during St. Louis' 2-8 stretch.The starting rotation has also struggled, posting a 6.04 ERA in that 10-game span after previously leading baseball with a 2.83 mark.Saturday's starter Shelby Miller (6-5, 4.06) has lost a career-high three straight starts while allowing 15 runs in 17 innings. He had a 2.79 ERA through his first nine outings.Miller cruised through the first six innings Monday against Kansas City -- conceding only two singles -- before Alex Gordon's homer marked the first of four straight hits against him to open up the seventh. He finished the inning but was charged with four runs."Up until that point, it was one of the best we've seen him throw this season," Matheny told the team's official website.Miller is 2-4 with a 6.62 ERA in seven career interleague starts.
Opposing batters have posted a .846 OPS against Mark Buehrle this season in at-bats that end with his cutter, which is the fourth-worst mark in the majors among pitchers who have ended at least 30 plate appearances with a cutter. Since the beginning of 2012, Allen Craig has a 1.114 OPS in such plate appearances, the sixth-best mark among hitters with at least 50 PA that end in the pitch.
At 23 years old, Shelby Miller is the youngest Cardinals pitcher to throw a shutout on the road since Bud Smith's no-hitter on Sept. 3, 2001 (he was 21 at the time)