8/30/2014 6:10 P.M. ET
Buehrle motivated to reach 200 innings
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Mark Buehrle's streak of 13 consecutive seasons with at least 200 innings is in danger of coming to an end unless he has a strong final month of the season.
Buehrle has five starts remaining and is 33 innings shy of 200. That works out to an average of just under seven innings per start, which is something Buehrle hasn't done since the beginning of July.
It would appear to be an uphill battle for the veteran left-hander to hit his annual milestone, but he certainly hasn't given up hope quite yet.
"That's the goal I set every year," Buehrle said. "Obviously, in my mind, I know it's going to come to an end sometime, whether it's the result of a bad year or retirement.
"It's one of those things that I still, in my mind, want to get to, and if I don't ... when I get home for the offseason it will be disappointing. I have to fight through these last five starts to try to get there."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is among those hoping Buehrle will keep his streak alive. Prior to Saturday afternoon's game against the Yankees, Gibbons looked at the schedule and raised the possibility of Buehrle finishing the year in the bullpen.
Buehrle's final start will likely come against the Mariners on either Sept. 24 or 25. It's possible the Blue Jays could then use Buehrle out of the bullpen in the season finale on Sept. 28 if he needs another couple of innings to reach 200.
"It's important for us, too; we'd love to see him get that," Gibbons said of the 200-inning plateau. "He had that stretch, two or three starts in a row, where he didn't make five [innings]. But he feels good; he says he kind of caught a second wind. His arm feels good."
Buehrle is 11-9 with a 3.50 ERA in 27 starts this season. He has one win in his past 15 starts, while posting a 4.83 ERA over that span.
Sanchez's hot hand nets save for Blue Jays
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays might have a mini-competition at the back end of their bullpen after rookie right-hander Aaron Sanchez picked up the first save of his career during Saturday afternoon's 2-0 victory over the Yankees.
Sanchez pitched a clean eighth and was then brought back for the ninth. That spot is normally reserved for veteran closer Casey Janssen, but in this case, manager John Gibbons decided to stick with the hot hand.
That meant Janssen was relegated to the role of observer while Sanchez retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to preserve the win.
"We're trying to maximize who he is," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Sanchez, the Blue Jays' No. 2 prospect and the 38th-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. "We don't want to throw him necessarily on back-to-back days, unless we're forced to. So if he goes out there and has one inning under his belt and it's easy, we're going to ride him."
Gibbons said after Saturday's game that he informed Janssen of the club's plan for Sanchez earlier this month in Seattle. Despite that claim, it would appear as though Janssen was caught off guard by Toronto's decision on Saturday afternoon.
Janssen started warming up under the assumption that the ninth inning would be his, but the call to the bullpen was never made. Instead, Sanchez made his way back out to record his first save while facing the team against which he recorded his first win, on July 27.
Janssen struggled after the All-Star break, perhaps in part because he lost 10 pounds after coming down with a severe case of food poisoning. He has two blown saves in his past three opportunities, dating back to the start of the month, but he looked a lot stronger during his last outing, on Tuesday.
Bautista goes deep for fourth straight game
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista contined his recent surge at the plate by extending his streak of consecutive games with a home run to four in Saturday afternoon's 2-0 Blue Jays win over the Yankees.
Bautista's two-run drive came with two outs during the first inning, and it marked the first time Bautista has homered in four straight games since Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2009.
Ten other players in franchise history have homered in four consecutive games. The club record is six, achieved by Jose Cruz Jr. during the 2001 season.
"I'm going up the plate and hoping for good at-bats," Bautista said. "I'm having some good ones and some bad ones. The bottom line is I want to contribute on a daily basis."
The home run was also the 100th of Bautista's career at Rogers Centre. He's now two shy of 30 homers on the season, a plateau the veteran slugger hasn't hit since 2011.
Bautista's recent run of success follows a brief skid that saw him go 0- for-17 at the plate. That slump is now a distant memory.
"[The key is] just not missing your pitch, making the right adjustments within at-bats and between games, depending on who's pitching and how they might attack you," Bautista said. "Not missing the pitch when you get it."