Toronto at Chicago

W: M. Buehrle (2-0) L: A. Burnett (0-1)
S: B. Jenks (4)
HR: TOR - A. Rios (4)   CHW - P. Konerko (3), P. Konerko (4)

Konerko helps White Sox welcome Burnett with two HRs

CBS wire reports

CHICAGO -- In his debut with the Toronto Blue Jays, A.J. Burnett discovered firsthand what many teams and pitchers already know. Don't miss your spot when you're facing Paul Konerko.

Konerko hit a pair of two-run homers off Burnett, Mark Buehrle pitched eight strong innings and Tadahito Iguchi made a stellar ninth-inning defensive play Saturday as the Chicago White Sox beat the Blue Jays 4-2.

"I got a couple of good mistakes to hit, and I didn't miss," Konerko said. "That's what you have to do against a guy like that. He's got real good stuff.

"I wasn't trying to do it. I'm just trying to take good swings. The approach is good and I just want to keep it there, just let the home runs be a reaction."

Konerko hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the fifth -- his second of the game, fourth of the season and third in two games.

"Both those balls leaked over the middle right toward him and he did what you're supposed to do with them," Burnett said. "Two pitches and that was really it."

Burnett (0-1), who signed a five-year, $55 million contract with Toronto after spending seven seasons with the Marlins, gave up seven hits and four runs in six innings while walking one and striking out five. He started the season on the disabled list after scar tissue broke off in his elbow during spring training, delaying his first start with his new team. He was activated before Saturday's start.

"I threw a lot of pitches early. You've got to put them away when you're ahead," Burnett said. "I wasn't as good as I expected to be."

But the Blue Jays were still encouraged by his outing.

"It's just good to have him out there," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He'll get better the more he's out there."

Buehrle overcame a shaky start and allowed just five hits and two runs, both coming on Alex Rios' two-run homer in the first.

"I knew I had to settle down. I knew we wouldn't score a lot off Burnett," Buehrle said.

Buehrle (2-0) gave up a leadoff infield single to Reed Johnson before Rios homered. After Vernon Wells reached on another infield hit to extend his hitting streak this season to all 11 games, Buehrle retired the next three hitters, ending his 25-pitch inning.

Burnett, who threw 30 of his 95 pitches in the first inning, issued a two-out walk to Jim Thome in the opening inning before Konerko followed with a two-run shot to left to tie it up.

Thome has been on base and scored in all 11 of the White Sox's games, and Konerko said he's the one benefiting from batting behind the new DH.

"He's such a presence and even when he makes outs, it's a long at-bat and he sees five or six pitches. You can tell a lot of focus is going into him on the other side, in their dugout," Konerko said.

"I just try to be ready in case they slip up and throw a fastball over the plate."

After Chicago pitchers yielded 39 hits and 22 runs in the previous two games, Buehrle gave the White Sox what they needed. In the sixth after Rios walked and Wells had another single, he escaped by starting a double play on Troy Glaus' comebacker and getting Bengie Molina on a pop fly.

"Whether he gets hit early or in the middle or late, he gets in his seven innings it seems like every time," Konerko said. "There are also great defensive plays made behind him and it's not a coincidence. Guys are in the game. He works quick."

But the best defensive play came after Buehrle left as Bobby Jenks worked the ninth for his fourth save.

After Glaus hit a one-out single, Iguchi raced in to field Molina's slow hopper over the mound and as he was falling down, got off the throw to first for the out. Shea Hillenbrand then grounded out to end the game.

"The play Iguchi made in the ninth has got to be play of the year," Buehrle said.

When Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen first saw Iguchi try to throw as he was falling, he was thinking, "we got second and third with one out."

"He was gambling, taking a a lot of risks. You go, `Oh no don't do it,' and `Oh, good,"' Guillen said.

"People think it's going to be a dumb play but when you make an out, you got a standing ovation."


  • Wells has three more hits and is now 20-for-49 (.408) this season. He is 11-for-20 lifetime against Buehrle.
  • Buehrle made his 200th career appearance and 175th start.
  • It was Konerko's 14th career two-homer game.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
White Sox ace Mark Buehrle earns his second victory with eight solid innings.  (AP)
White Sox ace Mark Buehrle earns his second victory with eight solid innings. (AP)

Players of the Game

P. Konerko
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2

A. Rios
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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Toronto Blue Jays
Reed Johnson, LF4110000 .476
Alex Rios, RF3112100 .382
Vernon Wells, CF4030010 .408
Troy Glaus, 3B4010013 .325
Bengie Molina, C4000002 .357
Shea Hillenbrand, 1B3000112 .231
Lyle Overbay, DH3000021 .318
Aaron Hill, 2B3000000 .220
Russ Adams, SS3000000 .263
HR - Alex Rios (4, Buehrle)
RBI - Alex Rios 2 (10)
SB - Troy Glaus (1, 2nd base off Buehrle/Pierzynski)
CS - Vernon Wells (1, 2nd base by Buehrle/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 4
E - Aaron Hill 2 (2, Wild throw)
Toronto Blue Jays
A.J. Burnett (L,0-1) 6744152 6.00
Scott Schoeneweis 1000000 0.00
Justin Speier 1000000 1.59
WP - A.J. Burnett (1)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 95-58, Scott Schoeneweis 10-7, Justin Speier 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 7-7, Scott Schoeneweis 2-1, Justin Speier 2-1
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 27, Scott Schoeneweis 3, Justin Speier 3
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF4010000 .079
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B4110022 .308
Jim Thome, DH3100101 .314
Paul Konerko, 1B4224000 .356
Jermaine Dye, RF4010000 .310
A.J. Pierzynski, C4010001 .306
Joe Crede, 3B3000011 .306
Rob Mackowiak, CF3000012 .136
Alex Cintron, SS3010012 .391
HR - Paul Konerko 2 (4, Burnett, Burnett)
RBI - Paul Konerko 4 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Paul Konerko 4 (5)
SB - Jermaine Dye (2, 2nd base off Burnett/Molina)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Buehrle-Iguchi-Konerko
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle (W,2-0) 8522241 2.25
Bobby Jenks (S,4) 1100010 5.06
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 104-71, Bobby Jenks 16-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 11-7, Bobby Jenks 2-0
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 29, Bobby Jenks 4
Game Information
Attendance - 33247
Game Time - 2:10
Temperature - 57
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Wally Bell