Mark Buehrle has been a model of dependability for much of his career, but his latest streak of consistency is an unprecedented one for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Buehrle will try to extend that run Sunday against the Seattle Mariners while leading Toronto to rare back-to-back road wins.
Buehrle (11-5, 3.23 ERA) has already registered a 15th consecutive season of double-digit victories and is on pace to surpass 200 innings for a 15th season in a row. With Tuesday’s win, the left-hander put his name in the Blue Jays’ record book.
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In a 7-1 victory over Oakland, Buehrle surpassed Dave Stieb and Roger Clemens’ record by allowing two earned runs or fewer while pitching six or more innings in nine consecutive starts. He gave up one run to the A’s while going at least seven innings for the seventh straight time and could match the AL wins lead depending on how Houston’s Dallas Keuchel pitches Sunday in Kansas City.
"This is probably as good of a stretch as I’ve seen him," manager John Gibbons told MLB’s official website. "He’s just very reliable, year after year. He goes out there night after night. You know you’re getting strikes. You know he’s working quick and good things usually happen when he’s out there. It’s pretty impressive."
Buehrle is 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA in his past nine starts and has not issued a walk in four outings this month. He yielded three runs in 7 1-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to Seattle on May 23, and began his streak after a 6-4 win in Minnesota six days later. He’s 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last three games against Seattle (45-53).
In this one, Buehrle will try to lead Toronto (50-49) to consecutive road victories for only the third time this season. The Blue Jays haven’t claimed back-to-back road wins since a five-game run June 2-14 and also won successive road games April 9 and 10.
Toronto rallied from a three-run deficit for an 8-6 win Saturday with Chris Colabello hitting a two-run single in the ninth. Ezequiel Carrera provided a tying two-run homer in the eighth.
Toronto also seeks a fifth win in seven overall games when it faces a struggling Taijuan Walker (7-7, 5.06). The right-hander gave up six runs over 4 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s 11-9 win in Detroit to drop to 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA in his last three starts.
"In the course of the season he’s going to struggle from time to time," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "But in the end he’s going to make you proud and I think he’s done that. You expect some clunkers from a rookie from time to time."
Walker is 0-2 with a 3.29 ERA in two lifetime starts against Toronto and gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings in an 8-2 loss May 24. He then went 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA over a seven-start stretch that immediately proceeded his current funk.
Jose Bautista, who has reached base in 36 consecutive games against Seattle, was not in the lineup against Walker because of a sore right shoulder. He’s 1 for 3 versus Walker while Ryan Goins is 3 for 5 with a home run.
Mark Trumbo is 6 for 12 with three homers and two doubles against Buehrle. Robinson Cano has three hits in his past 18 matchups, but is batting .345 in 21 games this month and is 10 for 24 in six contests since moving into the cleanup spot.