White Sox look to avoid second sweep vs. Orioles

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White Sox look to avoid second sweep vs. Orioles

Monday, May 2, 2011
Posted: 10:00 a.m.

Associated Press
Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen returned after serving a two-game suspension, though the controversial skipper couldn't spark much life into his struggling club.

With the offense reeling and the pitching staff inconsistent, Mark Buehrle hopes to snap out of his personal funk and help the White Sox avoid another sweep Monday night in the conclusion of a four-game set with the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

Guillen was back on the bench Sunday after a ban from Major League Baseball for posting messages about an umpire on his Twitter account when he was ejected from Wednesday's game against the New York Yankees. The White Sox (10-19) lost both games in his absence to Baltimore, and the team's struggles continued Sunday with a 6-4 defeat - Chicago's fifth straight.

A loss Monday would mark the fourth time the White Sox were swept in a series this season and the first time Baltimore completed a four-game sweep in Chicago since July 6-9, 1995.

The White Sox have scored four or less runs in 17 of their last 18 games, and only Brent Lillibridge - who homered Sunday - is batting above .300. Adam Dunn hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the eighth, but he's hitting .171 with 31 strikeouts.

The pitching staff has struggled as well, ranking last in the AL with 149 runs allowed.

Paul Konerko, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI, believes things will turn around soon.

"Just because you go out and play hard doesn't mean you're going to win or get the hit," he said. "But over the long haul, you've got to believe you will. I believe I will and I believe the team will."

Buehrle (1-3, 5.12 ERA) may hope Konerko is correct. He's lost his last three starts, allowing 13 runs and 24 hits in 17 2-3 innings. He gave up three runs over seven innings in Wednesday's 3-1 loss at New York.

The left-hander also has lost three consecutive starts against Baltimore and is 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA in 16 career appearances versus the Orioles (13-13), winners of five of six.

Buehrle looks to slow a Baltimore offense which has scored 22 runs through the first three games of the series, though the Orioles have had some success against him.

Vladimir Guerrero is 12 for 33 (.364) with four home runs versus Buehrle, while Brian Roberts (13 for 39) and Nick Markakis (10 for 23) also have hit the left-hander well.

Markakis was hitless in his last 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position before his three-run double Sunday in the Orioles' five-run fifth inning off White Sox starter Gavin Floyd extended Baltimore's lead to 5-0.

"(Floyd) went away from his fastball, he threw a lot of cutters, slider and curveballs, you can almost go up there and sit on an offspeed pitch," Markakis said. "The more pitches you can eliminate, the easier to hit."

Jeremy Guthrie (1-3, 2.53) looks for his first win since April 1, though he pitched well in his most recent start. Guthrie went six scoreless innings Wednesday against Boston before Baltimore won 5-4.

The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in his last four starts against Chicago. He's held most of the current White Sox lineup at bay through his career, as Konerko is 5 for 24 (.208) while Alexei Ramirez, Omar Vizquel and Gordon Beckham are a combined 4 for 37 (.108) lifetime against Guthrie.

The Orioles have won six of the last eight meetings.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

On his 24th birthday, Tim Anderson’s present from home plate umpire Jim Wolf was his first major-league ejection.

In the fifth inning of the White Sox 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, Anderson fouled off a pitch that landed in the opposing batter’s box. But A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell picked it up in what was ruled to be fair territory and threw the ball to first for the out.

Anderson pleaded his case saying the ball went foul. Wolf agreed, according to Anderson, which only further confused the White Sox shortstop.

“I told him that was BS,” Anderson said. “And he tossed me.”

Anderson said that he was surprised to be ejected so fast. So was manager Rick Renteria, who was thrown out moments after Anderson.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Renteria said. “The players having emotion, they are battling. I just think we need to grow a little thicker skin.”

Anderson said that he was appreciative of his manager coming to his defense.

“He kinda had a point and let me know he had my back,” Anderson said of Renteria. “Speaks a lot of him.”

A day after scoring nine runs on 18 hits, the White Sox failed to generate any offense on Friday. The team’s best chance came in the ninth inning.

But with runners at the corners and two outs, Matt Davidson put a good rip on the ball to center field, only to fly out at the warning track.

Anderson and Renteria were watching the game together in the clubhouse, and both believed the White Sox had tied the ballgame.

“We all jumped up and were excited but it kind of fell short,” Anderson said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

On the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien goes 1-on-1 with the star of the weekend, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle tells an absolutely amazing bachelor party story and discloses why he wore No. 56.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the White Sox Talk Podcast here