Buehrle goes where no Blue Jays pitcher had gone before

Pitcher allows no more than 2 runs over at least 6 innings for 9th straight start

Buehrle goes where no Blue Jays pitcher had gone before

OAKLAND -- The Blue Jays have had a lot of big-name pitchers over the years with a group that's headlined by Roy Halladay, Dave Stieb, Roger Clemens and Pat Hentgen. But nobody on that list was able to accomplish what Mark Buehrle did Tuesday night in a 7-1 victory over the A's.

Buehrle became the first pitcher in franchise history to allow two earned runs or less while tossing at least six innings in nine consecutive starts. Stieb had two stretches of eight starts while Clemens did it once but no one took it quite as far as Buehrle.

The 36-year-old has garnered a reputation as being one of the most reliable pitchers in the game, and with good reason. He has tossed at least 200 innings while picking up 10 or more wins in 15 consecutive years and he's well on his way to hitting that benchmark yet again.

"I think any time streaks like that happen, it's going to come to an end, especially for me because I'm not striking guys out," Buehrle said as he attempted to downplay the significance in his typical self-depracating way. "Positioning guys, putting guys behind where the balls are going to be hit to, that obviously helps me out. I don't think I ever would have said I'd accomplish that."

Buehrle got off to somewhat of a slow start this season, but everything has been going his way since the start of June. He has one loss since the end of May and that came in a game when his defense let him down and allowed four unearned runs to score during a 4-2 loss to the White Sox.

The veteran lefty was back to his old tricks against the A's on Tuesday night. Pitching on nine days' rest for just the third time in his career, Buehrle scattered eight hits over seven strong innings. His lone blemish came in the sixth when Jake Smolinski hit an RBI triple to the gap in right-center field.

Buehrle's season ERA peaked at 6.75 but has been in a steady decline ever since. He has a 1.52 ERA since June 1, which has lowered his season ERA total to 3.23. As usual, one of the main reasons behind his success has been control and Buehrle has yet to walk a batter in July despite tossing 29 innings.

The recent string of success might not impress Buehrle all that much, but it has certainly caught the attention of his manager.

"He's been good all three years here, this is probably as good of a stretch as I've seen him," John Gibbons said. "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."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.