Mark Buehrle accomplished so much with the Chicago White Sox — a no-hitter, a perfect game, a World Series victory — that watching him pitch against his old team must have been surreal. For slugger and former teammate Paul Konerko, it definitely was.
Behind 6 1/3 effective innings by Buehrle, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the White Sox 4-3 on Monday night. Both of the runs Buehrle allowed came in the first inning. It was Buehrle's first win for the Blue Jays in his first career appearance against the White Sox, for whom he pitched from 2000-2011. For them, he is fourth all-time in starts and strikeouts.
Against them, Buehrle allowed nine hits and wasn't particularly dominant; he was just good enough to win. Konerko had seen that before — just not while standing in the batter's box. Via Ian Harrison of the Associated Press:
The White Sox put runners at the corners with two out in the fifth but Buehrle escaped by fanning Konerko.
''Big situation right there and I just knew I had to make a pitch,'' Buehrle said. ''I know how great a hitter (Konerko) is.''
Konerko said the experience of facing his teammate of 12 years wasn't particularly enjoyable for either one of them.
''I didn't have much fun with it, and I don't think he did, either,'' Konerko said. ''But it was a good game, and he pitched well.''
Reading between the lines, Konerko probably is still a little peeved the White Sox let Buehrle go via free agency, no matter that the Miami Marlins appeared to be the only team offering a four-year deal before the 2012 season. Miami of course traded him to the Jays during the offseason in its most recent purge, but it's not as though Chicago still couldn't use him, too.
In addition to "crazy," Buehrle called facing his old team "different" and "weird":
''It was different seeing the Sox uniform in the batter's box,'' Buehrle said. ''Usually it's behind me. It's weird rooting against those guys. I've rooted for them for 13 years and wanted them to win every game. This is the first game in I don't know how long that I'm actually rooting against them.''
That's not a photoshop, that's an actual dinosaur.
Buehrle came in with a 10.24 ERA in two starts, so he definitely wanted to show the home crowd at Rogers Centre something better, and he took advantage of a White Sox team that has lost six times in seven games. The only team Buehrle hasn't beaten in his career is the New York Mets.