Mark Buehrle has never won 20 games in a single season during his 14-year career, but his strong start this year has him more than a quarter of the way there
Buehrle has reached double-digit wins in 13 straight years, with his season-high victory total of 19 coming in 2002 with the Chicago White Sox. He has had only one losing season, at 12-13 in 2006.
On Monday night, Buehrle (7-1) pitched six-plus innings, allowing two runs and six hits in a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels in becoming the major league’s first seven-game winner.
“Buehrle is on some kind of roll and he was the perfect guy tonight,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We’ve been struggling.”
In his previous start, Buehrle tossed seven innings of three-hit ball in Toronto’s 10-0 win over Philadelphia. He walked two batters and had six strikeouts while lowering his ERA to 1.91.
It was the third game this season that Buehrle has held an opponent scoreless, with the Blue Jays’ bullpen finishing off the shutout.
“I don’t want o try to figure out what’s going on,” Buehrle said after the Phillies game. “I’m just going to roll with it and keep it as long as I can.”
Buehrle usually pitches into the sixth or seventh inning, baffling hitters with deception while keeping his fielders on their toes with little time wasted between pitches. He’ll give up a lot of hits from time to time and doesn’t strike out too many hitters, but walks few batters and finds a way to win.
“All he does is keep winning,” Gibbons said. “He does the same thing every time he wins. Just hit rewind.”
Teammate Brett Lawrie, who hit a home run on Monday to help avoid a four-game sweep by the Angels, calls Buehrle “amazing.”
“You know he’s going to go out there and compete for us every single night, he’s going to give us a chance to win.”
Buehrle is tied for the AL ERA lead with Detroit’s Max Scherzer at 2.04.
Arenado’s hot bat: Colorado’s Nolan Arenado has been swinging a hot bat recently, extending his hitting streak to 28 games on May 8 to set the Rockies’ franchise-best streak, breaking a tie with Michael Cuddyer, who had set the record last season with a 27-game hitting streak.
“I’m not trying to hit the home run,” Arenado said. “I’m just trying to hit the ball hard. I’m going to keep on saying that until the year is over.”
The Rockies beat Texas 9-2 in Arlington after crushing the Rangers 8-2 and 12-1 in Denver the previous two games for a 29-5 margin in the first three games of four last week between the teams.
Arenado got things rolling for Colorado in a game last Wednesday with a two-run double in the first inning. It was the Rockies’ 22nd win in their first 36 games this season. But Texas shut out the Rockies 5-0 in the series finale.
Arenado’s streak ended on Friday at Cincinnati after he had gotten half-way to Joe DiMaggio’s record hitting streak of 56 straight games in 1941.
Arenado is one of four Rockies’ players in the major league’s top-20 in batting. He ranked 16th with a .310 average going into Tuesday’s games. Justin Morneau was fifth at .329; Charlie Blackmon was second with a .352 average and Troy Tulowitzki ranked first at .395.
Colorado led the majors with 420 hits, a .302 team batting average and 57 home runs through Monday.
StatsWatch: Adrian Beltre hit his 100th home run for the Texas Rangers last week, becoming the fifth major league player to hit 100 homers for three different teams. Here’s the list from the Elias Sports Bureau of players who have hit at least 100 homers with three different teams:
- Adrian Beltre – Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers
- Darrell Evans – Giants Tigers, Braves
- Reggie Jackson – Yankees, Angels, A’s
- Alex Rodriguez – Mariners, Rangers, Yankees
- Jim Thome – White Sox, Indians, Phillies
Diamond Notes: New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter ended his 161-at-bat homerless streak with a round-tripper in a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels last week…Ryan Braun, who has been out since April 26 with a right oblique strain, expects to return to the lineup on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Braun was batting .318 with six home runs and 18 RBIs when he went on the 15-day disabled list on May 3…Replay review was used to determine the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2-1 win over San Francisco on May 6. Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was called out and then ruled safe with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Marte had tripled to right field and ran home on a throwing error. He was ruled safe when the replay showed Marte’s right hand touched the plate before Giants’ catcher Buster Posey tagged him. “It’s frustrating to be to the end of a call that cost you the ballgame,” Giants pitcher Tim Hudson said…Cleveland Indians reliever John Axford has lost his job as the team’s closer after going 1-3 with nine saves and a 4.91 ERA in 17 games.
Copyright © 2014 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.