TORONTO -- Houston Astros manager Bo Porter wasn’t too impressed with his team’s approach against Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle.
Buehrle pitched a two-hitter, and the Blue Jays ended a season-worst seven-game losing streak, beating the Astros 4-0 Thursday night.
“What we witnessed tonight was an experienced major league pitcher that executed a game plan,” Porter said. “Obviously, they watch film, they watch our hitters, and it was pretty evident that he had a good game plan of how he was going to attack our hitters. I didn’t think we did a good job of making an adjustment once we went through the lineup once, and definitely not even the second time.
“After you see a guy a couple of times and you see what it is he’s trying to do, hitter to hitter, you have to say to yourself, ‘OK, I think we’re going to need to make an adjustment here.”’
Buehrle (6-7) struck out a season-high nine—his highest strikeout total since he fanned a career-high 12 against Seattle in April 2005 -- and walked two in his first complete game of the season.
“Today was one of those days when obviously I had a lot of stuff working for me,” Buehrle said.
The last-place Blue Jays had been 0-6 since the All-Star break, swept in consecutive series by Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Dodgers, two teams on serious hot streaks. Toronto had dropped 14 of 18 overall.
“It’s been a while,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the wait between wins.
Things were easier for Toronto against the Astros, who have won just once since July 13 and have the worst record in baseball at 34-67. Houston lost for the 18th time in 22 games and was shut out for the 11th time.
Maicer Izturis drove in two runs for the Blue Jays, who won at home for the first time since July 7.
Buehrle pitched his ninth career shutout and first since throwing a perfect game against Tampa Bay in 2009.
“He was just marvelous,” teammate Adam Lind said. “He threw the heck out of the baseball.”
The complete game was the 29th of Buehrle’s career but just the second of the season for the Blue Jays. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had the other, going the distance at Tampa Bay on June 26.
In Buehrle’s previous start, he matched a season-worst by giving up 10 hits against Tampa Bay. He held the Astros without a hit until Justin Maxwell singled with two outs in the fifth.
“He never really left much over the plate,” Houston catcher Jason Castro said. “When he was missing, it was to the corners or underneath or above the strike zone.”
Erik Bedard (3-8) lost his fifth straight start, allowing one run and three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out six. Bedard had walked five or more in three of his past four starts.
“He’s been doing a great job of really attacking guys,” Castro said. “He’s got very good stuff, he’s got a ton of movement on his pitches.”
Bedard didn’t allow a hit in 6 1-3 innings against Seattle in his previous start, a game the Mariners went on to win 4-2. This time, Jose Reyes hit a leadoff single in the first.
“Just glad I gave up a hit to the first batter so there’s no controversy,” Bedard said with a smile.
With the trade deadline looming next Wednesday, Bedard was asked whether he has wondered about being dealt by the last-place Astros.
“I haven’t thought about that,” he said. “There’s a lot more pitchers out there that are younger and can go deeper into games.”
Castro, however, painted Bedard as an attractive asset for a contending club.
“He’s been doing a great job of really attacking guys,” Castro said of Bedard. “He’s got very good stuff, he’s got a ton of movement on his pitches. He’s really able to kind of mix stuff up out there. He’ll speed guys up, slow them down, come at you with different angles and stuff. He’s done it a long time, he’s comfortable with his stuff. He knows exactly what he’s doing out there.”
Jose Bautista drew a two-out walk in the fourth and scored on Edwin Encarnacion’s double into the right-field corner. Encarnacion was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
Lucas Harrell walked Bautista and Encarnacion to begin the seventh. Pinch-hitter Lind had an RBI double, and Izturis followed with a two-run single over the drawn-in infield.
Houston didn’t put a runner in scoring position until the sixth, when leadoff man Brandon Barnes was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on Jonathan Villar’s sacrifice. Buehrle responded by getting Jose Altuve and Jason Castro to ground out.
J.D. Martinez hit a one-out double in the seventh but Brett Wallace struck out and Maxwell grounded out.
NOTES: Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow has been shut down for six weeks with a nerve problem in his forearm, effectively ending his season. ... Houston’s 10-game, 11-day road trip also includes three games at Baltimore and three at Minnesota. ... The Canadian-born Bedard started in his home country for the first time since 2007. ... Astros OF Trevor Crowe (right shoulder) began a rehab assignment with Houston’s Gulf Coast League team.