White Sox 6, Pirates 1

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox needed a minute to remember how to celebrate a victory.

Buehrle scattered nine hits over eight innings, Josh Fields hit a two-run homer and the White Sox beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Saturday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Rob Mackowiak also drove in two runs for Chicago, which had lost nine of 10.

“It felt weird giving everyone knuckles (congratulatory fist pounds) on the field,” said Buehrle, who struck out four and issued an intentional walk. “It’s been a while.”

“I felt lost on the field today,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of the post-victory celebratory handshakes. “I felt lost afterwards.”

Buehrle (4-3) won his 101st career game and has won consecutive starts after not earning a win since April 23—the start just after his no-hitter April 18. During his previous outing, he snapped the team’s five-game skid. Chicago has won only two games not started by Buehrle since May 22.

“I’ve said before, I would rather the other four guys get a win and I lose every time,” Buehrle said. “I’ll give that up any day, but obviously with the way we have been struggling—the last two games I’ve been given six runs and five runs or six runs and six runs. Some guys haven’t been getting the runs I have been getting the past couple outings, and that makes it a little more difficult.”

John Van Benschoten was effective in his first major league start in almost three years and Adam LaRoche had three hits for the Pirates, who had won three of four.

Mackowiak led off the seventh with a bunt single and Fields followed with his first homer of the season to make it 4-1.

Fields, who also doubled in a run in the second, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Tadahito Iguchi doubled in a run in the ninth to make it 6-1 and help secure Guillen’s 300th career victory.

Fields was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on June 6 to replace the injured Joe Crede, and was playing in his 10th game this season and 21st of his career. The seventh-inning drive was his second career homer.

After starting the season 0-for-11, the former Oklahoma State quarterback has at least one hit in five of seven starts since.

“You’re called up, it’s in the middle of the season, you’re playing with guys like Jim Thome and Paul Konerko, and you’re asked to go out and help the team,” Fields said. “You’re going to put a little extra pressure on yourself, and once you finally get calmed down, hopefully good things will start happening.”

Ryan Doumit singled in LaRoche in the second for the Pirates. After being retired in order in the first, Pittsburgh had at least one baserunner in every inning against Buehrle but struggled to take advantage of its opportunities.

“That’s the clutch hits, and it’s a lot easier said than done,” LaRoche said. “(Buehrle) did good, he stayed out of the big inning. He stayed out of the back-to-back-to-back hits, the walks and the errors.”

Van Benschoten, who started five games and appeared in another for the Pirates in 2004, allowed two runs and three hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings. He had been 6-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season.

“I thought he did an outstanding job,” said Pirates bench coach Jim Lett, who is running the team while Jim Tracy attends his son’s college graduation. “He competed well, he threw some quality pitches and pitched out of a couple of jams. For him to come in here—what’s it been, two or three years since he’d pitched in the big leagues?—he did an outstanding job for us today.”

Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2001 draft, Van Benschoten (0-1) had reconstructive surgery on both shoulders before the 2005 season and questioned if he would ever reach the majors again.

“It’s always worth the wait if you’re pitching here,” Van Benschoten said. “Compare myself back to ’04, getting the callup in August, I thought I was better prepared now. As the year has progressed, I just felt better and better.”

Ryan Bukvich pitched a perfect ninth for the White Sox, who scored more than four runs in a game for only the third time this month and had lost 16 of their last 19.

“It’s gotta turn around sometime,” Buehrle said. “It can’t be this miserable all season long.

“It’s one of those things that hopefully this will carry over into our game tomorrow, too.”

Notes

Van Benschoten went 1-3 with a 6.91 ERA in 2004. His previous major league start was Sept. 18, 2004, when he allowed six runs in one-third of an inning in an 8-7 loss to the New York Mets. … All five of the Pirates starters in the rotation at the moment were drafted by the club. No other major league team has more than three homegrown starters. … The crowd of 36,610 was the second sellout of the season and first since opening day. … It was Guillen’s 300th career victory.

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