White Sox 5, Red Sox 4
Buehrle rebounded after walking three in the first, and Takatsu overcame bases-loaded jams in the last two innings Sunday to finish Chicago’s 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.
“I put Shingo on the spot,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I like to have him for just one inning and that’s it.”
Buehrle, who walked three batters in just one of his previous 25 starts this season, walked four in the first two innings but led 2-0 before allowing two runs in the sixth.
“I thought there were a couple of calls that could have gone my way,” said Buehrle (11-6). “I walked three in the first inning, but they didn’t score and that’s what counts.”
“Early on he was exceptional,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Getting out of the sixth, it was starting to wear on him a little bit.”
Buehrle allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and four walks. Relievers Cliff Politte and Damaso Marte loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, and Guillen brought in Takatsu.
Takatsu ended the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Dave Roberts, who swung at a 65 mph changeup.
“It was a definite adjustment facing Takatsu,” said Ortiz, who shares the AL lead with 30 homers. “Nobody throws that slow.”
Jason Varitek followed with a two-run single that left runners at first and third. Then Orlando Cabrera, who had three hits, checked his swing on a 78 mph slider and hit a game-ending comebacker to Takatsu, who got his 12th save in 13 chances.
“We’ve seen it with some of the best hitters in the American League,” center fielder Aaron Rowand said of hitters’ problems with Takatsu. “This is the first time the Red Sox have seen him.”
It was a familiar spot for Takatsu, who spent the past 13 seasons with the Yakult Swallows.
“He’s been in this situation a lot in Japan,” Takatsu said through an interpreter.
With the loss, Boston is tied for the AL wild-card lead with Texas, less than a percentage point ahead of Anaheim.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Timo Perez singled and scored on Lee’s double. Lee stole third and came around when Paul Konerko grounded out to third, beating the throw to the plate from first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.
After the first, Buehrle allowed three hits in four scoreless innings. Boston tied it 2-all in the sixth on a single by Varitek, a double by Cabrera and a two-run single by Mientkiewicz.
Working on three days’ rest for the second time this season and the third time in his career, Buehrle entered with an average of 2.18 walks per nine innings in his career and 1.68 this season, fifth in the AL.
“We’re definitely upset that we couldn’t take advantage of him,” Boston’s Johnny Damon said. “It was not one of his better pitching performances.”
Boston had three hits in the third but failed to score. Kevin Youkilis singled, took second on Varitek’s two-out single and was thrown out at home by center fielder Aaron Rowand trying to score on Cabrera’s single.
Youkilis hobbled behind home plate and sat on the ground for a few minutes as Boston trainer Jim Rowe tended to him. He left the game with a bruised lower right leg and was listed as day to day. X-rays were negative.
Buehrle threw 59 pitches in his first two innings and 51 in his next five. He had lost his previous three decisions. … Cabrera was 2-for-20 in his previous five games. … The Red Sox went over 2 million in attendance in their 58th game, a team record. The crowd of 34,405 lifted their total to 2,033,250. All games have been sellouts. The previous record of 60 was set last year. … Lee was 6-for-12 in the series with two homers and four RBIs.