White Sox 6, Astros 3
CHICAGO (AP)—The champagne was chilled, but Mark Buehrle sounded like a man who was simply relieved—not poised to pop open a bottle.
Buehrle pitched eight strong innings for his 100th career victory and the Chicago White Sox beat the Houston Astros 6-3 to snap a five-game losing streak on Sunday. Now, he has a minor milestone this season to go with the no-hitter he pitched in April.
“I’d rather have those things not happen to me, and we be in first place or close to leading the division,” Buehrle said. “But on a personal level, it feels pretty good.”
Buehrle (3-3) did his part after failing in his first seven attempts at win No. 100.
“Hopefully, for 101, we don’t have to wait two months,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Buehrle allowed six hits and a run while striking out four and walking one. He threw a no-hitter against Texas on April 18 and beat Kansas City five days later, but he went 0-3 and saw his ERA jump from 2.59 to 3.99 over the next seven starts.
On Sunday, he looked like his old self.
Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez struggled again, though.
The left-handed Rodriguez (3-6) allowed seven hits and five runs—four earned—in five innings. It was his third loss in four starts.
“We’re in a rotten position right now,” manager Phil Garner said. “We need to win (in) streaks. If we win two out of three for the rest of the year we’ll be in good shape, but we got to put together a good streak. We just can’t have momentum like the last couple of days just drift away and have a nothing ball game like we did today.”
The struggling White Sox bullpen almost gave away a five-run lead in the ninth. Dewon Day walked two batters with one out and Boone Logan walked another to load the bases, before closer Bobby Jenks came in. Jenks, who took the loss Saturday, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch and another on a groundout before striking out Luke Scott for his 17th save in 18 chances.
It was another shaky outing for a bullpen that has a 9.09 ERA and five blown saves in its last 29 games.
Konerko continued to emerge from his season-long slump, going 3-for-4. He has 11 hits in his last 23 at-bats. Konerko doubled and scored on Terrero’s single in the second, and hit his ninth homer with one out in the fourth to make it 2-0.
Terrero led off the fifth with his fourth homer and Uribe added his sixth one out later. Konerko drove in Andy Gonzalez with the inning’s third run to make it 5-0.
That was enough for Buehrle, whose lone mistake was a solo homer by Mike Lamb in the seventh.
The reeling White Sox (27-32) needed this.
They had not fallen seven games below .500 since June 12, 2003, and were trying to avoid their first six-game losing streak since August 2005. Of course, they went on that year to sweep Houston for their first championship since 1917, but that World Series seems more and more like a distant memory—for both teams — as the losses mount.
The Astros committed three errors, were sloppy on the bases, and they couldn’t afford it with Buehrle pitching like this.
“He was corners all day with me,” Houston’s Morgan Ensberg said. “He got ahead and at that point, I was battling. I don’t feel like I got a really great pitch to hit today.”
In other words: Buehrle was, well, Buehrle.
“You always feel like you have the advantage when he pitches—at least 60-40 or better,” Konerko said.
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski dropped his appeal and served a one-game suspension Sunday for his conduct during a game against the New York Yankees last week. Pierzynski pounded the plate with his bat in disgust after striking out in the eighth inning Thursday and said something to home plate umpire Bob Davidson, who ejected him. Pierzynski then flipped his helmet back at the plate. … Konerko drove in two runs and moved into sole possession of fifth place on the club’s all-time RBI list with 806 RBIs, two more than Eddie Collins. … Tadahito Iguchi singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 12, tying a career-high. … The Astros called up left-handed pitcher Mark McLemore from Triple-A Round Rock and outrighted catcher Humberto Quintero to the minor league club before Sunday’s game. … The Astros kept OF Hunter Pence, who had to leave Friday night’s game with a sore hip flexor, out of the starting lineup for the second straight day. He hopes to return Monday, when Houston plays a makeup game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.