Chicago at Kansas City

White Sox lean on pitcher Buehrle to break out of funk

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mark Buehrle had more trouble getting out of the way of balls hit up the middle than with the Kansas City hitters.

Buehrle pitched eight strong innings and Joe Crede drove in two runs as the Chicago White Sox defeated the Royals 3-1 Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak.

Buehrle was struck in the right triceps by Reggie Sanders' comebacker to end the fourth, and Shane Costa's grounder ricocheted off the pitcher's right leg in the sixth.

"My leg cramped up in the eighth inning," Buehrle said. "It was like getting an elbow to the knee. I wanted to go back out and finish it, but it was best to let the bullpen finish it."

Buehrle (1-0) gave up just six singles, walked one and struck out one. The Royals did not have a runner reach second base until the seventh inning.

"My velocity was back up, which I was happy to see that," Buehrle said. "I was getting ground balls, which was nice to see."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was happy to see a well pitched game after his club had a 6.20 ERA in the first six games.

"He's my ace," Guillen said. "He's been doing that for a long time. When things are going tough, he came up big. I've got a lot of confidence in him. Hopefully, the rest of my starters will follow him. Buehrle stepped up big today."

The White Sox took a 2-0 lead in the second. Jermaine Dye walked with one out and advanced to third on A.J. Pierzynski's single to center. Crede's broken-bat double to left scored both.

Jim Thome homered deep into the left-field seats with two out in the eighth inning off Scott Elarton (0-2). It was the third of the season for Thome, the only White Sox player to homer.

Bobby Jenks gave up a one-out homer to Sanders in the ninth, but finished up for his first save.

Buehrle did not allow a hit until Mark Teahen's grounder to center field with two outs in the fifth. The only other baserunner the Royals had in the first five innings was Emil Brown reaching first on Tadahito Iguchi's fielding error in the second inning.

Chicago avoided its first 1-5 start since 2001 as Buehrle improved to 13-6 against the Royals. He has more wins, 15, against only Minnesota.

The Royals had two singles in the sixth, but were victimized by sloppy baserunning. Tony Graffanino was thrown out by Scott Podsednik trying to stretch a hit into a double. Mark Grudzielanek singled, but Buehrle promptly picked him off to end the inning. Buehrle has picked off 38 runners, including a league-leading 10 in 2004.

"That was huge especially with (Mike) Sweeney on deck. He's hit me pretty well," Buehrle said. "That's why I kind of gave a little fist pump after I picked him off. If you make a mistake to Sweeney, he's going to hit the ball out of the park and it would be a tie game. That is one of the big points of the game."

Royals manager Buddy Bell was ejected in the ninth inning after arguing an out call on Sweeney's liner to third baseman Crede. The ball popped out of Crede's glove and third base umpire Bruce Froemming initially ruled Sweeney safe. However, the umpires huddled and Sweeney was called out, drawing Bell from the dugout.

"My perspective on that was I don't think the call was made correctly," Bell said. "My perspective was if it's a catch, the ball would have stayed in his glove. It's pretty elementary for me. He (plate umpire Mike Winters) called me nuts. It's not the first time I've been called that."

Said Crede, "It was a catch bottom line. I caught it in the air. I fell down and still had it in my glove and I was going to show it to him as a courtesy to the umpire behind me."

Sanders followed with his solo homer to center.

Sanders and Brown singled in the seventh, but Angel Berroa grounded into a double play to end the Royals' threat.

In the eighth, John Buck walked and Costa singled, but Buehrle retired Graffanino and Grudzielanek on fielder's choice grounders to end the inning.

Elarton allowed three runs and five hits in eight innings. He walked two and struck out four.

"I don't care if we are scoring runs, two losses is still two losses," Elarton said. "I'd rather win 6-5 or 10-9 and come out a winner."

Notes

  • Royals CF David DeJesus remains sidelined with tightness in his left hamstring.
  • RF Dye returned to the White Sox lineup after missing two games with a strained left calf.
  • Graffanino made his first start of the season for the Royals, playing first base.
 
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Jim Thome gets a five from Paul Konerko after Thome hits his third home run of the young season.  (AP)
Jim Thome gets a five from Paul Konerko after Thome hits his third home run of the young season. (AP)

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Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF5000003 .045
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4000000 .294
Jim Thome, DH3111101 .333
Paul Konerko, 1B4000001 .208
Jermaine Dye, RF2110210 .444
A.J. Pierzynski, C3120001 .421
Joe Crede, 3B4012002 .222
Juan Uribe, SS4000015 .190
Brian Anderson, CF3000122 .222
Totals323534415 
Batting
2B - Jermaine Dye (1, Elarton), Joe Crede (3, Elarton)
HR - Jim Thome (3, Elarton)
SH - A.J. Pierzynski (1)
RBI - Jim Thome (5), Joe Crede 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome (3)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Scott Podsednik 1
DP - Crede-Iguchi-Konerko
E - Tadahito Iguchi (1, misplayed grounder)
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle (W,1-0) 8600110 2.25
Bobby Jenks (S,1) 1111011 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 88-54, Bobby Jenks 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 13-8, Bobby Jenks 1-1
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 29, Bobby Jenks 4
Kansas City Royals
Tony Graffanino, 1B4010001 .200
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B4010012 .300
Mike Sweeney, DH4000001 .118
Reggie Sanders, RF4121000 .333
Emil Brown, LF4010000 .222
Angel Berroa, SS4000012 .313
Mark Teahen, 3B3010001 .111
John Buck, C2000101 .273
Shane Costa, CF3010000 .300
Totals32171128 
Batting
HR - Reggie Sanders (1, Jenks)
RBI - Reggie Sanders (5)
PK - Mark Grudzielanek (1, Buehrle)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Graffanino
E - Angel Berroa (2, throwing error), Mark Teahen (1, throwing error)
Kansas City Royals
Scott Elarton (L,0-2) 8533241 3.29
Jimmy Gobble 0.1000100 6.75
Steve Stemle 0.1000100 27.00
Andrew Sisco 0.1000000 10.13
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 105-67, Jimmy Gobble 14-7, Steve Stemle 8-4, Andrew Sisco 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 7-13, Jimmy Gobble 2-0, Steve Stemle 1-0, Andrew Sisco 1-0
Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 31, Jimmy Gobble 3, Steve Stemle 2, Andrew Sisco 1
Game Information
Attendance - 15094
Game Time - 2:17
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Brian Runge, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Bruce Froemming