White Sox 3, Twins 1
CHICAGO (AP)—Mark Buehrle waved his cap as the crowd stood and cheered him, some chanting his name. Manager Ozzie Guillen gave him a hug and now everyone will wait to see if it was the stylish left-hander’s final game for the Chicago White Sox.
“I’d say it’s probably 50-50. You never know what is going to happen,” Buehrle said Saturday after pitching eight strong innings and leading Chicago past the Minnesota Twins 3-1.
The White Sox’s victory came a day after they were pummeled in a day-night doubleheader by the Twins, losing 20-14 and 12-0—the most runs they’d given up in back-to-back games since 1930.
Buehrle (6-4) allowed six hits over eight scoreless innings to a Twins team that had 36 hits in the two games Friday, including eight homers.
“He controls the game. He’s like the quarterback out there,” Minnesota’s Torii Hunter said. “He’s in and out, hitting spots. He works fast. Quick games.”
How would Buehrle rate the progress he’s making with the only organization he’s ever played for?
“I’d probably say a little more discouraging that encouraging, but you know things are where they’re at. And let’s see where the next step takes us,” Buehrle added.
After his previous start last Monday, he said he was 100 percent sure he’d make another start for the White Sox. Now he’s not so sure. There are several teams that would like to acquire him a trade.
Buehrle, who can be a free agent after the season, had reportedly reached agreement on years (four) and money ($56 million) for a contract extension with the White Sox. But those negotiations had stalled because the team won’t give him a complete no-trade clause.
“Like I said, we’ll just take it from here and see where it goes,” Buehrle said without elaborating.
He’s said he’d talked with general manager Ken Williams and owner Jerry Reinsdorf and told them where he stands.
“The only deadline there really is July 31 in my mind,” Buehrle said. “Like I told them, if something is going to happen kinda hurry up and do it because it is getting kind of old.”
Buehrle’s agent, Jeff Berry, said in a statement Saturday night that the White Sox had rejected an alternative to the no-trade clause issue.
“Mark loves playing for the White Sox and has the utmost respect for everyone in the organization. In an effort to bridge the contractual impasse, we offered a sensible alternative to a full no-trade clause,” Berry said.
“Those final overtures were rejected and at this point, Mark hopes for resolution prior to the start of the second half.”
Buehrle’s pitching doesn’t get old. He works fast, keeps his defense ready— it turned four double plays Saturday—and usually stays around the plate with his pitches.
Buehrle’s now 4-1 over his last six starts and improved to 19-10 in his career against the Twins, his most wins against any team.
“We are just hoping. We don’t want to see him go anywhere. I couldn’t picture playing here without him, but if it happens, we’ll move on,” said Paul Konerko, who hit a two-run homer Saturday.
“You know, we have him, and I say don’t let him go.”
Buehrle settled down after some shaky fielding by the left inside of his infield in the first. Leadoff batter Luis Castillo singled off Josh Fields’ glove at third and then shortstop Juan Uribe muffed Jason Bartlett’s grounder for an error. Buehrle got out of it by getting Mike Redmond to hit a double play grounder and Michael Cuddyer to fly out to left.
Boof Bonser (5-6) allowed four hits in seven innings, three in Chicago’s three-run fourth, but didn’t get the run support the Twins handed their pitchers one day earlier.
“That’s the crazy part about baseball. One day you can put that many runs up and the next day you don’t get any,” Bonser said.
Jerry Owens reached on a bunt single in the fourth for Chicago’s first hit, Tadahito Iguchi singled to left and Jim Thome hit a run-scoring fielder’s choice. Konkero then hit his 17th homer to deep left center to give Buehrle a 3-0 lead.
The White Sox had two on and no out in the fifth but Bonser escaped, the big play a fielder’s choice grounder in which Twins first baseman Justin Morneau threw home and got Rob Mackowiak trying to score from third.
In two previous starts against the White Sox spanning 13 2-3 innings this season, Bonser yielded just two earned runs.
Redmond was back in the lineup Saturday despite taking seven stitches to his head after he was hit by Jim Thome’s bat during the first inning of the second game Friday. Redmond was fitted with a doo-rag and some extra padding in his helmet to protect his head. “He came in today all fired up,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s ready to go.” And he was, collecting two hits. … Jermaine Dye was a late scratch from the White Sox’s lineup with flu-like symptoms.