- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle turned in a dominant performance Wednesday night, completely shutting down a sputtering Washington Nationals lineup en route to an 8-0 victory in the series finale between the two teams.

Buehrle’s second consecutive complete game spelled trouble for Washington, which could only cobble together six hits. The Nationals did not advance a runner past second base.

THE RUNDOWN: This one got out of hand in a hurry. Making his first start of the 2015 season, Taylor Jordan walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, then surrendered a double and two singles. Kevin Pillar singled two batters later. And just like that, the Nationals trailed 4-0 before the end of the first inning. Toronto tacked on another run in the fourth on an RBI single by Jose Reyes, then added two more runs in the sixth. Jordan showed signs of improvement as the outing went on, hitting his spot at times and completing six innings to give the bullpen a bit of a break. But when he walked off the mound for the final time, he had left the Nationals‘ lineup in a hole too deep for it to climb out of — especially with Buehrle on the mound.

THE HIGHLIGHT: Slim pickens here, folks. In the seventh inning, the Nationals replaced Taylor Jordan with Taylor Hill and put Michael A. Taylor into the game in left field. There were a lot of Taylors. So that was funny, I guess.

STAR OF THE GAME: Buehrle was masterful Wednesday night. He has now thrown two consecutive complete games, and this one required only 93 pitches. The 36-year-old had remarkable command and created groundballs seemingly at will. He held the Nationals to six hits, only one of which went for extra bases, and walked just one batter.

THE TAKEAWAY: After a scorching stretch in which they won 21 of 27 games, the Nationals have come back down to Earth in a big way. Including last weekend’s sweep in Cincinnati, they’ve lost five of their past six games. And after winning nine consecutive series, they’ve now lost two in a row. So is it time to panic? Uh, no. Not even close. The Nationals aren’t playing well, but this is the sort of stretch every team goes through. It’s a white-hot team finally regressing to the mean. Don’t panic yet. Remember: there’s still two-thirds of the season left.

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