Buehrle tries to win his first career game in Oakland and the White Sox look for their first series victory at McAfee Coliseum in more than six years Wednesday, as they conclude their three-game set with the Athletics.
Chicago (3-4) defeated the Athletics 4-1 in Monday’s series opener, but its bullpen could not protect the lead on Tuesday as it lost 2-1. Second baseman Mark Ellis’ bases-loaded single off White Sox closer Bobby Jenks with two outs capped a two-run ninth-inning rally.
Oakland (4-5) has scored two or fewer runs in each of its last five games, the longest such streak for the club since Aug. 20-24, 1980.
“Hopefully this will turn our offense around. We’ve been facing good pitching but it’s only so long you can say that,” Ellis said.
Despite the loss, the White Sox have a chance to win a series in Oakland for the first time since taking two of three games Aug. 28-30, 2000. Chicago is just 5-24 at McAfee Coliseum since the start of the 2001 season.
Buehrle (0-0, 6.75 ERA) has been unable to catch a break at McAfee Coliseum in his career. He is 0-5 with a 4.86 ERA in 10 career starts in Oakland, and the White Sox have gone 1-9 in those games.
The left-hander is making his first start since being hit in the left forearm by a line drive in Thursday’s 4-3 win over Cleveland, forcing him out of the game in the second inning. Buehrle, hoping to rebound after going 12-13 last year - his only losing mark in seven seasons - allowed a run and three hits in 1 1-3 innings before being hurt.
He said his hand was swollen immediately after the injury, but he now feels better and hopes manager Ozzie Guillen won’t pull him early.
“I hope they’re not looking at it as, ‘He’s got 50 pitches or five innings,’ or whatever,” Buehrle told the team’s official Web site. “I hope I make it the entire way. I’m treating it like it’s another start.”
Although Buehrle struggled for much of last season, one of his best performances came in Chicago’s 3-2 home win over Oakland on May 24, when he allowed an unearned run and six hits in seven innings.
The A’s counter with Joe Kennedy (0-1, 1.50), who allowed just two runs - one earned - and six hits in six innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, but got charged with the loss in a 5-2 defeat.
The left-hander, who was making his first start since Oct. 2, 2005, missed about half the 2006 season because of shoulder tendinitis and appeared in 39 games as a reliever - the first time in his seven-year major league career that he did not have any starts.
Kennedy has struggled in his career against the White Sox, going 2-4 with a 7.84 ERA in six starts.
White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is batting just .154 (6-for-39) in his last 10 games at Oakland, but is 9-for-13 (.692) with two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in his career against Kennedy.
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