White Sox 7, Cubs 6
Buehrle pitched into the seventh inning and got his first major league RBI Saturday as the White Sox jumped to a big early lead for the second straight game and held on for a 7-6 win.
“It’s always a plus when the pitchers hit,” said Buehrle, who entered the game just 1-for-11 in his career. “I don’t know what I’m doing up there, really.”
After falling behind 7-0, the Cubs scored twice to get within two in the seventh but could have had more. A great relay throw from shortstop Valentin cut down Damian Miller at the plate for the first out of the inning and kept the Cubs from having an even bigger rally.
“I was surprised, too,” Valentin said. “They were down 7-3 and trying to get the guy home with no outs and I just turned around and I got a call `Go home.’ I made a throw and got him. When he made the turn home, he was pretty much running out of gas.”
Was it a mistake by Cubs third base coach Wendell Kim to wave Miller around?
“I don’t know if it was a mistake or not. We’ve been trying to play aggressive baseball. I call it aggressive baseball and it didn’t work,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.
That same aggressive approach cost the Cubs again in the ninth against Billy Koch, who got his 10th save in 12 chances. He allowed an RBI single to Sammy Sosa, but pinch-runner Tom Goodwin was thrown out trying to steal second and Eric Karros flied out to end it.
“It’s definitely a gamble worth taking. It just wasn’t worth taking today, I guess,” said Goodwin, thrown out when Koch pitched out to catcher Paul, who made a perfect peg to second.
The pitchout was called by bench coach Joe Nossek.
“He sniffed something was happening,” Paul said. “Goodwin’s very fast and Joe picked the right time to pitch out and it worked.”
On Friday, the White Sox knocked Cubs starter Shawn Estes out after one inning while taking a 6-0 lead en route to a 12-3 victory.
A day later they went ahead 7-0, and it was Buehrle who got them started.
Buehrle doesn’t bat often, except in interleague play at NL parks.
But after working the count to 2-2 against Clement, he sent a two-out, run-scoring single up the middle for his first RBI to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the second. Willie Harris followed with a broken-bat single to make it a two-run lead.
“It shows you can’t take any part of the lineup for granted,” Clement said.
“From there on, it seemed like they got into a pretty good rhythm and kept me out of a rhythm.”
With a near-capacity crowd of 38,939 at Wrigley Field, the White Sox put together another big inning in the fourth against the Cubs, who entered the day in first place in the NL Central.
Magglio Ordonez and Brian Daubach doubled, Valentin walked and Crede delivered another run-scoring double. Paul singled in a run and, after a fielder’s choice on Buehrle’s bunt, Harris hit another RBI single.
When Crede got his third straight hit, a bases-loaded single in the fourth, it finished Clement and gave the White Sox a 7-0 lead.
Buehrle (4-10), who won 35 games the past two seasons, allowed nine hits and four runs in 6 1-3 innings. He has two straight wins after a nine-game losing streak.
Moises Alou hit a two-run homer after Sosa’s single, and Miller doubled in Karros as the Cubs got three back in the fourth.
Miller singled in the seventh but was out easily at the plate on Valentin’s perfect relay throw to Paul after a double by Martinez.
But Sosa flied out and Alou popped out to end the threat.
Clement (5-7) struck out the side in the first, but gave up 11 hits andseven runs.
Karros was 4-for-5. … Exactly 14 years ago on June 21, Sosa hit his first major league homer as a member of the Texas Rangers, connecting off Roger Clemens. … Sosa hasn’t homered at Wrigley Field since April 17. … Daubach’s third-inning double extended his hitting streak to 10 games, tying a careerhigh.