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Buehrle exits game with right calf contusion

Left-hander struck by line drive in fourth inning against Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Mark Buehrle's 2013 season came to an unfortunate end on Thursday night, when he was forced to leave a game against the Orioles in the fourth inning because of a right calf contusion.

Toronto's veteran starter was struck on his right calf by a line drive off the bat of Baltimore's Steve Pearce. Buehrle managed to record an out on the play, but then had to be removed from the game after he was looked at by head trainer George Poulis.

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Buehrle was making his last start of the year, but still had the goal of reaching 13 wins for the fifth consecutive year at the time of his injury. And while it's not expected to be anything serious, it was enough to cut his outing short after just 50 pitches.

"I've got six months to recover, so it doesn't really matter," Buehrle joked after Toronto's 3-2 loss. "It got me in the calf, told them to at least let me finish off the inning but [manager John Gibbons] said there's no reason to. They got me out of there. I'm sure it will tighten up and feel a little sore."

Buehrle's night came to an end after he allowed three runs on eight hits while striking out one over 3 1/3 innings. That concluded his first season with the Blue Jays, in which he posted a 4.15 ERA while surpassing the 200-inning plateau for the 13th straight year.

The 34-year-old has made 429 consecutive starts without requiring a stint on the disabled list, and has proven to be one of the most durable pitchers in the game. He also was arguably Toronto's best pitcher this year, despite beginning the season in the back end of the starting rotation.

Buehrle did get off to a slow start in April, but since May 11 he went 11-8 with an impressive 3.43 ERA. He was everything the Blue Jays could have hoped for after coming over in an offseason trade with the Marlins, but that doesn't mean he was content with how the year went.

"I'd like for the ERA to be in the threes," Buehrle said. "The first month and a half I struggled, don't feel like I gave us a chance to win many games. I was getting my butt handed to me pretty good.

"Turned around and had a couple of good months and then the last three of four starts it wasn't the greatest, so this obviously isn't the way I wanted to end the year, going into the offseason like this. But maybe if I could have lasted a couple of more innings, it would have turned into a decent start. But that didn't happen."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Buehrle