Orioles 2, White Sox 0

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Mark Buehrle gave the Chicago White Sox a solid return on their investment in his first start since signing a $56 million, four-year contract extension.

Unfortunately for the White Sox, Erik Bedard was even better.

Bedard pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, and Nick Markakis and Corey Patterson homered off Buehrle to lead the Orioles to a 2-0 victory Friday night.

Bedard (8-4) struck out seven to increase his AL-leading total to 156. The left-hander walked two and allowed only three runners past first base in extending his run of scoreless innings to 16.

He threw 98 pitches, 64 for strikes.

“Just throwing a lot of strikes is the key. Throwing the first pitch strike helps a lot,” Bedard said.

In his last start against Chicago, on July 2, Bedard did not receive a decision after yielding six runs, five hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings.

“We see a different Bedard than we see in Chicago. This kid, he make big pitches,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He’s one of the best lefties in the game. In a tough situation, he stepped it up a notch and he got better.”

Guillen was referring to the Chicago seventh, when Jim Thome drew a one-out walk and took third on a double by Paul Konerko. Bedard then struck out Jermaine Dye and Josh Fields, both on called third strikes.

“I made a pitch when I had to and they didn’t swing,” Bedard said.

Bedard outdid Buehrle (6-5), the subject of trade rumors before he signed the extension Sunday. Buehrle permitted six hits and a walk in his third complete game of the season.

“As long as he pitches like that he’s going to win a lot of games,” Guillen said. “Especially after he signed the contract. A lot of people ask: Now that he got the money let’s see what he can do.”

Buehrle did quite well, except for the homers by Markakis and Patterson, both of whom are left-handed batters.

“This year has been pretty bad with lefties. I think they’re hitting .300 off me,” said Buehrle, a left-hander. “Lefties are hitting better than righties off me.”

Bedard, on the other hand, had success against virtually everyone he faced. He’s 4-0 in his last five starts and owns a 2.19 ERA in 14 starts since the beginning of May.

Coming off a two-hit shutout of Texas in which he faced the minimum 27 batters, Bedard went up against the minimum 12 over the first four innings, thanks to a pair of double plays. But the streak ended in the fifth, when Konerko hit a leadoff double before Bedard retired the next three batters.

Bedard is neither tall nor strong, but he certainly can be effective.

“He’s one of those guys that’s not a mystery, just tough to hit,” Konerko said.

After Bedard escaped trouble in the seventh, he received a hearty handshake in the dugout from interim manager Dave Trembley.

“Well, he knows when I do that he’s done. I don’t ask him,” Trembley said. “That’s my way of telling him, ‘Great job, I appreciate it, you’re done.”’

After Paul Shuey got the first two outs in the eighth, Jamie Walker gave up a single before retiring the side. Chris Ray worked the ninth to complete the four-hitter and earn his 15th save.

Markakis put Baltimore up 1-0 by leading off the fourth inning with his 10th home run, a drive that cleared the 25-foot scoreboard in right. With his first homer since June 8, Markakis joined third baseman Melvin Mora as the only Orioles with at least 10 home runs.

Patterson made it 2-0 in the fifth with his third homer of the season. Two of them have come against the White Sox in a six-game span.

Baltimore came into the game ranked 12th in the AL in home runs, ahead of only Los Angeles and Kansas City.

Markakis and Kevin Millar hit successive one-out singles in the sixth before Aubrey Huff hit into a 3-6-1 double play.

Notes

An examination of Mora’s ailing left foot Friday revealed a grade one sprain. He will miss at least a week, and could be placed on the disabled list this weekend. … Thome walked twice to pass Frank Robinson for 21st on the career list with 1,421 walks. … A.J. Pierzynski got a pinch-hit single in the eighth. He’s 4-for-9 as a PH this season. … Chicago is 9-17 against LH starters.

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