White Sox 5, Devil Rays 3
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Ozzie Guillen wants Mark Buehrle in his rotation, and the White Sox left-hander wants to stay in Chicago.
“I think everyone knows where my heart’s at … and how bad I want to stay here,” Buehrle said Wednesday after beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-3. “I want to stay here and do everything I can to stay here.”
If that’s the case, then the White Sox ace—the subject of recent trade talks—could soon sign a lucrative contract extension.
Buehrle, who scattered nine hits over seven innings and repeatedly worked out of jams to give his team a chance to rally, insisted he wasn’t sure where things stood.
“My agent is here and I keep on hearing (assistant general manager) Rich Hahn is here, but I haven’t seen them,” Buehrle said.
“Until something happens, until I get that tap on the shoulder and they say: `You’ve been traded’ or `We’re going to sign you’ or `We’ll negotiate,’ it’s just all rumors to me.”
Buehrle (5-4) fell behind 3-0 after five innings, but managed to keep the White Sox within striking distance for their third straight win because the Devil Rays went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while building their lead.
The Devil Rays loaded the bases in the second, third and fourth against the left-hander, but only scored twice. Buehrle hit Carlos Pena with a pitch, forcing in a run in the third, and Carl Crawford’s grounder drove in Tampa Bay’s second run in the fourth.
Buehrle, who’s 3-1 over his last four starts, gave up a sacrifice fly to Jonny Gomes in the fifth before retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced. He walked three and struck out six to improve to 6-1 lifetime against Tampa Bay.
“He pitches with a lot of confidence. He’s been to the World Series, so he’s not an easy guy to get around,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “And even though we had him in trouble, I’m sure he never thought he was in trouble.”
Chicago rallied against right-hander Andy Sonnanstine and the Devil Rays bullpen with two runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth, when rookie Andy Gonzalez had an RBI single off Gary Glover (3-3) and Paul Konerko snapped a 3-3 tie with a two-run double off Shawn Camp.
Chicago’s three-game winning streak is its first since May 20-22. The White Sox entered this four-game series as losers of 22 of 27, a slide that prompted general manager Ken Williams to consider changes to the roster, including the prospect of trading Buehrle.
“I’m not going to let it affect me one way or the other. I’m going to go out there and pitch and try to win,” Buehrle said.
Sonnanstine allowed six hits and two runs in 6 1-3 innings. The rookie took a three-hitter into the seventh, but ran into trouble when three of Chicago’s first four batters singled to begin the comeback.
Alex Cintron trimmed the White Sox deficit to 3-2 with an RBI single off Glover in the seventh. After Gonzalez tied it with his sixth RBI of the series, the White Sox went ahead 5-3 on Konerko’s double down the left-field line.
Although Buehrle’s future in Chicago remains unclear, Guillen said before the game that he’s hopeful the left-hander, who can become a free agent after the season, will sign an extension by the time the club returns home from its road trip next Monday.
A handful of teams, including Atlanta, Houston, Toronto and the Los Angeles Dodgers, had scouts in attendance at Tropicana Field. Boston and the New York Mets are considered two teams that would make a serious bid if Buehrle was on the trading block.
“A few innings he got into trouble a little bit, then came out and threw big pitches,” Guillen said. “Every time he goes out there you’re going to have a chance to win because he’s going to keep you in the game. Today wasn’t any different.”
The White Sox struck out 10 times, hiking the number of times they fanned the first three days of the series to 36. … Devil Rays rookie OF Delmon Young matched a career high when he singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. … White Sox OF Jermaine Dye remained sidelined with a strained left quadriceps. He has missed five games and may be placed on the 15-day disabled list he’s not ready to return to the lineup by the weekend.