Buehrle, a 19-game winner last season, went 0-9 in 12 starts from April 15-June 11 before beating the Boston Red Sox 4-2 on Monday. The left-hander yielded one earned run and four hits over a season high-tying eight innings for his first victory since April 10.
“I just didn’t want these fans booing me anymore,” Buehrle said. “It’s been 2 1/2 months since I’ve had a win. I’ve had some decent starts. The offense just wasn’t there.”
Buehrle makes a valid point. The White Sox have scored two runs or fewer in six of his 10 losses this season.
The White Sox would like to give Buehrle the support they provided for Jon Garland in Friday’s series opener. Miguel Olivo’s grand slam capped a six-run first-inning outburst as the White Sox cruised to a 12-3 win—the most lopsided victory in the history of the interleague series.
“Everybody says this is just another game, but we would all be lying if we said we didn’t get a little pumped up for this series,” White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand said.
Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, in his first home game since serving a seven-game suspension for using a corked bat, was mostly cheered when introduced although some fans mixed in a very noticeable share of boos. Sosa was traded from the White Sox to the Cubs in 1992.
He also had trouble with the sun in right field, losing one ball and trapping another during a four-run White Sox fourth. He was 0-for-4 with a walk.
The White Sox are 8-5 since opening June 1-5.
The Cubs have dropped three of their last four.
STANDINGS (through June 19): White Sox - 3rd place, 6 GB, AL Central. Cubs - 1st place, NL Central.
WHITE SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Buehrle (3-10, 4.85 ERA). Buehrle is 1-2 with a 6.63 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs. He is 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA in two outings at Wrigley.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Clement (5-6, 4.48 ERA). After a six-start winless drought, Clement has won three in a row. The right-hander yielded three runs and nine hits over six innings in a 4-3 win at Cincinnati on Monday. He is 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: White Sox - Magglio Ordonez and Frank Thomas, .277 avg. and 37 runs; Thomas, 16 HRs; Carlos Lee, 43 RBIs and 7 SBs. Cubs - Corey Patterson, .309 avg., 12 HRs, 49 RBIs, 44 runs and 13 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: White Sox - 7-6. Cubs - 7-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: White Sox - The White Sox lead the all-time series 17-14. … The White Sox are 25-6 this season when outhitting their opponents. … The current White Sox are batting just .167 (7-for-42) against RHP Clement. … The White Sox have won three in a row on the road. Cubs - There have been 156 players who have appeared in at least one major league game for both the Cubs and White Sox, including OF Sosa and current White Sox RHP Tom “Flash” Gordon. … OF Sosa is 4-for-9 (.444) with a homer and three RBIs in his career against LHP Buehrle. … The current Cubs are hitting a combined .357 (10-for-28) against Buehrle.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: White Sox - 13-22 on the road; Cubs - 18-16 at home.
INJURIES: White Sox - LHP Kelly Wunsch (side), 15-day DL. Cubs - 1B Hee Seop Choi (concussion), 15-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL.