On perfect anniversary, Buehrle throws complete gem

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On perfect anniversary, Buehrle throws complete gem

Saturday, July 24, 2010
Updated 12:45 AM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

OAKLAND Its a stretch of the schedule Chicago needs to fatten up on, and with wins in three of the first four, the White Sox are starting to look a little chubby in the win column.

Mark Buehrle celebrated the one-year anniversary of his perfect game with another masterful effort, defeating the As 5-1 in front of a sparse Friday night crowd in Oakland.

Everything was down in the zone, sinkers were working, Buehrle said. When things are working like that. You get ahead in the count. They were swinging early, and I dont know if that was their game plan, but when they were swinging early, the ball was down and they were hitting ground balls.

Mark pitched good, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. He made those guys swing the bat, and we played good defense behind him.

Buehrle took just 101 pitches to compose a complete game that was scarred by just four hits and one earned run. It was the third time in Buehrles career hes thrown back-to-back complete games, also having achieved the feat in 2001 and 2004, as well as his first career win in Oakland.

I expected a beer shower when the game was over, Buehrle said of his first Oakland win in his 11 seasons.

The first three White Sox runs were driven in without the courtesy of a hit, as in the third Carlos Quentin drove a deep sacrifice fly to bring home Alex Rios, and in the sixth Juan Pierre scored on an Rios grounder played into an error by As shortstop Cliff Pennington and Omar Vizquel came home when Quentin tapped out to As pitcher Trevor Cahill.

A.J. Pierzynski provided more traditional run support in the top of the ninth, tapping out a two-run single to extend the White Sox lead to 5-1.

As the top of the ninth was an extended frame, it worried Guillen. But because his thinking was that the skipper could steal a complete game and gift his pen with another days rest, I talked to Mark after the long ninth inning, and he was fine to come back.

In the end, the White Sox extended their first-place lead to 2.5 games over the rained-out Detroit Tigers and three over the Minnesota Twins, who lost to the Baltimore Orioles. Little of that matters to the Sox jefe, however.

Dont worry about what you did yesterday, Guillen said of his teams second strong bounce-back this week. Its a new game. We dont take anything for granted. If you have a good game or a bad game today, it doesnt mean anything tomorrow. Were very good about believing in that.

Buehrle, as he usually does, succeeded in not just delivering a win, but restoring some cheer to the team.

This was one of those games that was fun, he said. Balls werent finding holes and I was making pitches and getting ahead in the count. As a starter youre going to have a certain amount of good ones and bad ones throughout the year, and I had all my bad ones at the start of the year. Im due to go on a little streak of good ones. The whole starting staff is on a good roll; lets keep it going.

And then, in a nod to how much fun it is to pitch when the team performs as well as it has for nearly two months now, Buehrle offered up a tantalizer sure to fire up Sox fans of all ilks.

If I keep pitching like this, I might not be able to retire.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Preview: White Sox kick off 10-game homestand vs. A's tonight on CSN

Preview: White Sox kick off 10-game homestand vs. A's tonight on CSN

The White Sox take on the Oakland Athletics tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

Coverage begins at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Mike Pelfrey (3-5, 3.56 ERA) vs. Jharel Cotton (4-7, 5.40 ERA)

Click here for more stats to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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— Latest on the White Sox: All of the most recent news and notes.

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

How White Sox players managed the 'chaos' of Thursday's record-setting rain delay

MINNEAPOLIS -- Some guys played cards. The soccer ball got kicked around in spite of the close quarters in the visiting clubhouse. There was dancing. A magic trick or two was attempted. A few players even tried to get in a nap.

White Sox players found myriad ways to keep themselves occupied during Thursday’s draining 4-hour, 50-minute rain delay -- the longest in Minnesota Twins history.

Yet despite not knowing what time the game may start, White Sox players found a way to overcome the uncertainty and stay engaged. Similar to May 26 when the first game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers was cancelled, the White Sox figured out how to go from zero to 60 in mere seconds. Though there’s no exact formula for success, the White Sox seem to have figured out a way to endure the elements and get out quickly. On early Thursday evening, the White Sox overcame the rain and misery to jump ahead of the Minnesota Twins en route to a 9-0 victory at Target Field.

“We keep it real loose whether,” veteran third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have a good time. We enjoy each other’s company. Win lose or draw, tomorrow’s a new day. Today we kept working hard and we knew we had a game to play and eventually we were going to play it. We turned it on at the right moment.”

Jose Quintana saw so much of his iPad that eventually he had to turn it off out of sheer boredom. Thursday’s starting pitcher was almost able to complete two feature-length movies during the rain delay. Quintana, who excelled with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 scoreless innings, watched ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and ‘Get Out’ on his iPad during the delay.

While he liked the action movie, Quintana wasn’t as fond of the latter, though he admits he’s not a big fan of horror movies.

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“I think it was bad because too much time in front of the iPad,” Quintana said. “It made me bored.

“I just tried to stay relaxed, focused on the game. … Tried to come back and work a little bit. It’s a little hard, but we don’t have control so stay focused on the game.”

Whereas the White Sox determined when they played last month at home -- they cancelled Game 1 of a doubleheader at 1 p.m. and pushed the second game back to 8 p.m. because of rain -- this time was in the Twins’ hands. The forecast called for rain all afternoon before things cleared up around 5 p.m.

While the White Sox were in limbo as to when they would play, they had a pretty good idea that eventually they would.

“It’s miserable,” Frazier said. “You try and find some things to do, play cards, hang out with the guys. If you had a set time it would help. But we came out banging in that first inning. It’s huge.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria is impressed with how his team has handled both long days. The White Sox also defeated the Tigers 8-2 on May 26th. While Renteria and his coaching staff spent a lot of his time preparing for their upcoming home series against the Oakland A’s, he’s pleased with how his players managed themselves through the uncertainty.  

“They’re the ones who are dealing with the chaos,” Renteria said. “They’re the ones who play the game and who have to have their minds to be ready to go out and perform. They’ve been able to respond well. It’s part of who they are, their character, and hopefully it’s something they continue to be able to do and build on.”