“Just Buehrle,” manager Ozzie Guillen said Wednesday after his unheralded lefty won his sixth straight decision, combining with two relievers to shut out the Texas Rangers 7-0.
Just Buehrle would mean another outing of working quickly, throwing strikes and conserving energy.
“When he’s on he can do what he did today—get a lot of groundballs, get some popups, change speeds well, throw strikes and work fast. He’s the ideal pitcher,” said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who homered in his fourth straight game.
“Him following (Jon) Garland, that’s pretty good.”
Buehrle became the third seven-game winner in the major leagues, joining teammate Garland (8-0), who beat the Rangers on Tuesday night, and Florida’s Dontrelle Willis.
“When you’re matching up with Buehrle, runs are going to be tight,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “You look at the hit totals, there wasn’t that much difference. They made a lot more use of theirs. We had a couple of opportunities.”
Buehrle (7-1) allowed nine hits over 7 1-3 innings and got out of two early jams to run his career record against Texas to 7-0. He walked none and struck out two, leaving to a standing ovation after giving up two singles in the eighth.
“I had chills and I had goosebumps. As soon as Ozzie came out of the dugout, the crowd started going crazy,” Buehrle said.
If a small crowd of 16,255 made that kind of noise, wait two days until the White Sox go to Wrigley Field. They will take a major league-best 29-12 record into Friday’s interleague opener with the Cubs in a series that promises to be wild and emotional.
Dye had three doubles, including one with the bases loaded, and Konerko hit his 10th homer.
“We won a lot of games without a lot of hitting early in the year,” Konerko said. “We’re going to look at it in a positive way and say that’s when they should have gotten us.”
Dye, in a 5-for-30 skid in his previous eight games and batting just .200 coming in, hit a two-run double with the bases loaded in the fourth. After Carl Everett was intentionally walked, Juan Uribe delivered a two-run single off Ryan Drese (3-4) for a 4-0 lead.
Konerko, in an even bigger slump than Dye—batting .196 and in an 8-for-59 skid entering the game—hit a solo homer to make it 5-0 in the sixth.
“One thing about Buehrle, they know he’s going to throw strikes, so he can throw balls off the plate and they’ll swing at them because they expect him to throw it over the plate,” Pierzynski said.
Texas had a pair of two-out singles in the first inning before Alfonso Soriano flied out, and the Rangers loaded the bases with three two-out singles in the second before Buehrle got Michael Young to pop out.
“It wasn’t as easy as it seemed. I gave up nine hits in seven innings. It seemed like they hit the ball with two outs, but once a guy gets on base like that, you just got to bear down and not give up that extra hit to score runs,” Buehrle said.
Drese allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings, leaving after Dye’s third double in the sixth.
“I’m just upset, upset because I’m not getting the job done,” said Drese, who was hit hard in his previous start against the Twins. “They had a few groundballs that got by and that’s the difference right there, as well as Buehrle was throwing.”
The Cubs will pitch Greg Maddux, Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior in the interleague series, while the White Sox counter with Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez. … Texas is 11-5 in its last 16 road games. … Aaron Rowand extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with a fourth-inning double that started Chicago’s scoring spree. … Rangers C Rod Barajas threw out Pablo Ozuna and Scott Podsednik, the major league leader in steals entering the day with 24, on back-to-back attempts in the third. Barajas has thrown out 12 of 21 attempted base stealers this season.