Grant Balfour nets 41st consecutive save, sets Oakland A's record

Justin K. Aller

The Aussie closer passed Dennis Eckersley's mark by shutting down the Pirates Monday night.

Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour set franchise history Monday night by netting his 41st consecutive save, besting Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's two-decade-old record.

The 35-year-old Balfour's record-breaking save was somewhat suspense-less, as the right-hander shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates in order in the ninth with a pop out and two fly ball outs. Balfour has converted all 23 of his save chances so far this season -- 18 of which have come with one-run leads -- and has not blown a save opportunity since April 29, 2012.

The right-hander told Jane Lee of MLB.com that he is "very happy" to hold the record, but that knows he can't stop now:

"I can't let up. I've got a season to keep pitching in, and I want a lot more. I want to keep winning. I feel like we're doing good things here, and I enjoy playing here a lot. I just want to keep it going."

Balfour's streak is somewhat misleading -- he earned an extra-inning loss in Seattle three weeks ago but happened to enter when the game was tied -- but it is what it is. The Aussie right-hander is still less than halfway to Eric Gagne's MLB record of 84 consecutive saves, but is now tied with three others for the sixth-longest save streak in baseball history.

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