Buehrle, Blue Jays stay scorching hot vs. A's, win 11th straight
When the Toronto Blue Jays welcome the New York Yankees to town on Friday night, they'll send ace David Price to the mound in search of a franchise-record 12th straight win.
Are they confident? You bet. The surging Blue Jays have that in abundance right now.
Toronto won its 11th straight game Thursday, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-2 behind Mark Buehrle's arm and Ryan Goins' bat.
The AL East leaders, who also won 11 in a row in June, became the first team to post a pair of winning streaks of at least 11 since Cleveland in 1954. Toronto has trailed in only two of 100 innings during its current string.
"Unbelievable," Goins said. "Just coming to the park knowing that you're going to win a game that day, it's a good feeling."
The Blue Jays finished off a three-game sweep and now host the second-place Yankees in a three-game set at sold-out Rogers Centre.
"Our guys are feeling good," manager John Gibbons said. "We're confident now. We're on a nice little roll and it means something."
Buehrle (13-5) won his fourth straight decision and improved to 8-1 in 14 starts since May 29. He allowed two runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings.
"He's a magician out there and always has been," Goins said.
Blue Jays starters have permitted three earned runs or fewer in 17 straight games, one shy of the club record.
"The pitching has kind of found its groove right now," Buehrle said.
Roberto Osuna worked the ninth for his 12th save.
Goins hit a three-run homer during a four-run second against Jesse Chavez (6-12).
Chavez moved up a day to start in place of AL ERA leader Sonny Gray, who was scratched because of back spasms. Gray first felt sore Wednesday night.
"It was tough not to see Sonny in there," Oakland catcher Josh Phegley said of his All-Star teammate. "We've counted on him all year."
The Blue Jays lead the majors in runs. They have homered in 12 consecutive games and 24 of 25 since the All-Star break, connecting 42 times overall in that span.
Toronto broke loose in the second when Dioner Navarro, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar singled and Goins homered into the right field bullpen.
"Trying to go up and in," Chavez said. "He just got the hands out and beat me to it."
The Athletics loaded the bases with nobody out in the first but Danny Valencia bounced into a 1-2-3 double play and Phegley grounded out.
"That can be a little disheartening," manager Bob Melvin said.
Oakland chased Buehrle in the eighth. Marcus Semien hit a leadoff single and Billy Burns tripled past a diving Pillar in center.
Reliever Aaron Sanchez came on and gave up an RBI grounder to Mark Canha, but escaped further damage.
The crowd of 46,902 was Toronto's seventh sellout of the season. All three games of the upcoming weekend series against the New York Yankees sold out last week. The Blue Jays have sold more than 300,000 tickets since acquiring Troy Tulowitzki before the trade deadline.
HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF?
Toronto's bullpen has worked 25 consecutive scoreless innings.
Blue Jays: 1B Edwin Encarnacion (left middle finger) sat out his fourth straight game. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki got the day off.
Athletics: Melvin said Gray will not be able to start against Baltimore on Friday, meaning Oakland will have to promote a starter from Triple-A Nashville. LHP Brad Mills, Friday's scheduled starter for Nashville, is considered the leading candidate. He's 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in three career starts against Baltimore. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-7, 3.79 ERA) starts for the Orioles Friday.
Blue Jays: LHP Price (11-4, 2.35 ERA) looks to improve to 3-0 with Toronto as the Blue Jays take on the Yankees. Price is 2-0 with an 0.60 ERA in two starts since joining Toronto. RHP Ivan Nova (4-4, 3.52 ERA) starts for the Yankees.