Clay Buchholz was the worst starting pitcher in baseball for the better part of two months, his earned run average so high that looking at the scoreboard made the righthander wince.

"It happened quick,'' Buchholz said. "You never want to go out there and give up five or six runs in a game and it happened five or six times to me.''

As a result, Buchholz almost certainly isn't going to make the All-Star team and get votes for the Cy Young Award like he did in 2010. But he can still be the same pitcher he was that season.

The evidence was there Thursday night when Buchholz threw nine terrific innings in a 7-0 victory over the first-place Baltimore Orioles.

"It was spectacular,'' manager Bobby Valentine said.