White Sox 5, Indians 1
CLEVELAND (AP)—Disappointment has not given way to despair. Not yet anyway.
The Chicago White Sox aren’t playing like they’ve given up hope of salvaging something from this dreadful season.
Far removed from the playoff picture, the White Sox won two of three games in the series from the Indians, who are just 3-3 since the All-Star break.
“We won one series,” Konerko said, downplaying Chicago’s accomplishment. “We haven’t made a significant dent in anything yet. Maybe it will be the start of something good, but it’s been a rough year.”
Buehrle (7-5) had been winless in his previous eight starts against the Indians, last defeating them on July 16, 2005.
The left-hander, who threw a no-hitter earlier this season against Texas, was in control from the outset. He mixed looping curveballs and changeups with a sneaky fastball to keep the Indians off balance and scoreless until the seventh.
“Buehrle kept us off track and we were never able to get anything going against him,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He didn’t make too many mistakes. He was down and in. He was low and away. He was tough.”
Buehrle wasn’t aware of his winless streak against the Indians until he had ended it.
“I thought I had pretty bad numbers here,” he said. “But somebody looked them up and they’re better than I thought. As good a team as they are, a lot of people are going to struggle against them.”
Buehrle walked one, struck out three, but most importantly, he kept the ball away from Chicago’s horrid bullpen as long as possible.
On Tuesday night, manager Ozzie Guillen let Jon Garland throw 122 pitches— the most by a Chicago starter this season—and he extended Buehrle until he had little choice but to pull him.
Trailing 4-0, the Indians finally got to Buehrle in the seventh as Franklin Gutierrez doubled and scored on Grady Sizemore’s one-out single. After Casey Blake’s single, Guillen brought in lefty Matt Thornton, who got Victor Martinez to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Over the past 60 games, Chicago’s bullpen is 3-14, has blown 10 saves and had its ERA rise more than two points.
But Buehrle went deep enough to make Guillen’s life easier—for one day.
“I don’t know if he’s our savior but every time he takes the mound, the expectations are high,” Guillen said. “We know most of the time we’ll have a good game.”
The White Sox added a run in the eighth on Rob Mackowiak’s RBI single, his third hit.
Konerko’s homer in the fourth off Jake Westbrook (1-5) gave the White Sox a 3-0 lead.
With Jim Thome on following a leadoff single, Konerko battled Westbrook in an 11-pitch at-bat—fouling off five pitches with two strikes—before connecting for his 20th homer.
“He kept coming with a sinker and I was thinking he might change it up and do something different,” Konerko said. “The home run was a good swing. I took a lot of swings today—I got up five times—and that was my only good one.”
Since June 1, Konerko is batting .320 (49-of-149) with 13 doubles, 13 homers, 28 walks and 31 RBIs.
Mackowiak followed Konerko’s shot with a double and scored on Jermaine Dye’s double, giving the White Sox a 4-0 lead over Westbrook, who needed 37 pitches to get three outs in the fourth.
Westbrook spent six weeks on the disabled list with a strained left side muscle and hasn’t won since he’s been back. He lasted six innings but remains winless since April 27—a span of six starts.
Westbrook wasn’t available following the game. A team official said he had to leave early to attend to a personal matter.
The White Sox, who may unload some players before the trading deadline, improved to 3-4 on a season-high, 11-game road trip that will resume Thursday in Boston before the team returns home to face Detroit.
“I said that after the break it would be tough,” Guillen said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some enthusiasm.”
Westbrook was in trouble right away as the White Sox loaded the bases with nobody out in the first on two singles and a walk. The right-hander, though, avoided major disaster by getting Konerko to ground into a 3-6-1 double play that scored one.
Buehrle’s 104th win moved him into a tie with Thornton Lee for 11th place in career wins for the White Sox. … Sizemore, who seems to make a sensational catch every game, laid out to grab Konerko’s sinking liner in the sixth. … Of the Indians’ 28 come-from-behind wins this season, 14 have happened after the club was tied or trailing after seven innings. Cleveland had 12 such wins last season. … Indians 1B Ryan Garko extended his hitting streak to 12 games.