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Buehrle improves to 3-0 as White Sox win sixth in a row

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle knew he needed to be at his best facing Johan Santana, even if Minnesota's ace had struggled early this season.

"You see him coming in with an 0-2 (record) and a 5 (ERA) and you wonder, 'How? How's that possible?"' Buehrle said Friday night after he outpitched Santana to help the Chicago White Sox beat the Twins 7-1.

"That guy to me is the best pitcher in baseball," Buerhle added. "For us to go out and get a couple of runs like we did. ... Last year he was dominating. Any time you get two runs like that, it's huge."

The game was scoreless until the sixth when Jim Thome hit a two-run homer off Santana, who is still winless in four starts this season.

"The last thing you think about against that guy is hitting a home run," Thome said. "That guy can pitch."

So can Buerhle.

Buehrle (3-0) allowed four hits over eight innings to get his third straight victory as the defending World Series champions won their sixth straight and their 10th in the last 11 games. He lost his shutout when Lew Ford hit a two-out homer in the eighth.

Thome's homer was his eighth of the season and came on a 3-1 pitch after he'd struck out in his first two at-bats against Santana.

"I don't think it was one pitch, it was one swing. I threw a good pitch and Thome's a great hitter," Santana said.

"He's very strong. He just made contact and just like that the ball was gone. It was a good piece of hitting."

The White Sox were finally able to beat Santana (0-3) for the first time in nearly two years.

Santana dominated the White Sox in 2005, going 4-0 in five starts with a 0.92 ERA. He was 6-0 against Chicago in his previous seven starts and had not lost to the White Sox since July 1, 2004.

And he was tough again Friday night, changing speeds and overpowering Chicago hitters at times before Thome connected.

"Going against a guy like Santana, you know you can't give up too many runs or you don't have a chance," Buerhle said. "You try to match him, throw zeros like he is."

Santana threw 120 pitches in seven innings, allowing five hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

"Buehrle did a great job," Santana said. "I felt good. I felt like the all was coming out pretty good. My pitches were there."

The White Sox scored five in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to a wild relay throw from Twins shortstop Juan Castro. Thome and Paul Konerko singled off Juan Rincon, and Jermaine Dye's double to left-center scored pinch-runner Pablo Ozuna. Konerko was held at third, but Castro's throw landed in Chicago's dugout, allowing both Konerko and Dye to score and make it 5-1.

"I saw Konerko a little bit off the bag. I wanted to surprise him a little bit, but when I went to throw it I didn't get a good grip," Castro said. "The ball slipped out of my hand and it just happened."

Brian Anderson added a sacrifice fly and Scott Podsednik an RBI double off Matt Guerrier.

Dye's single and Anderson's broken-bat blooper were the White Sox's only two hits through five innings.

Buehrle, whose 16-9 career record against the Twins represents his most wins against any opponent, retired the first 10 batters before Nick Punto singled to right in the fourth. Tony Batista singled in the fifth for Minnesota's second hit.

Ruben Sierra's infield single and a walk to Batista gave the Twins a threat in the seventh, but Buehrle got Rondell White on a fly ball to end the inning.

Notes

  • Thome has scored a run in all 16 of the White Sox's games. That's the longest streak ever to start out a season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Thome is now 2-for-12 in his career against Santana and both hits have been homers.
  • White was out of the DH role and in left field. Shannon Stewart had left the game to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter Thursday. Second baseman Luis Castillo didn't play either because of a sore right knee that forced him to leave Thursday's game early.
  • The first 4 1/2 innings took only 62 minutes to play.
  • Attendance was announced at 31,287. There were also 325 dogs in attendance for the White Sox's 11th annual Dog Day.
 
Copyright 2014 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.
 
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Mark Buehrle lowers his ERA to 1.93 by allowing one earned run in eight innings.  (AP)
Mark Buehrle lowers his ERA to 1.93 by allowing one earned run in eight innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

J. Thome
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Chicago

M. Buehrle
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 1
K 6
 

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Minnesota Twins
Lew Ford, RF4111000 .269
Nick Punto, 2B4010010 .263
Joe Mauer, C4010011 .265
Ruben Sierra, DH4010002 .250
Torii Hunter, CF3000110 .206
Tony Batista, 3B3010112 .288
Rondell White, LF4000005 .119
Michael Cuddyer, 1B3000011 .192
Juan Castro, SS3000010 .326
Totals321512611 
Batting
HR - Lew Ford (1, Buehrle)
RBI - Lew Ford (3)
2-OUT RBI - Lew Ford (3)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Juan Castro (1, Wild throw)
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana (L,0-3) 7522361 4.81
Juan Rincon0444000 4.50
Matt Guerrier 1211000 8.22
WP - Johan Santana (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 120-81, Juan Rincon 16-8, Matt Guerrier 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 4-11, Matt Guerrier 1-2
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 29, Juan Rincon 4, Matt Guerrier 5
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF4011111 .207
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B5110014 .304
Jim Thome, DH4122020 .347
    Pablo Ozuna, PR-DH0100000 .500
Paul Konerko, 1B4110000 .344
Jermaine Dye, RF3121100 .310
Joe Crede, 3B3110102 .314
A.J. Pierzynski, C3120001 .306
Juan Uribe, SS4000013 .179
Brian Anderson, CF3011012 .146
Totals3371153613 
Batting
2B - Scott Podsednik (4, Guerrier), Jermaine Dye (2, Rincon)
HR - Jim Thome (8, Santana)
SF - Brian Anderson (1)
SH - A.J. Pierzynski (2)
RBI - Scott Podsednik (3), Jim Thome 2 (16), Jermaine Dye (10), Brian Anderson (3)
2-OUT RBI - Scott Podsednik (1)
Team LOB - 7
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle (W,3-0) 8411161 1.93
Neal Cotts 1100100 5.14
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 102-64, Neal Cotts 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 10-8, Neal Cotts 1-2
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 29, Neal Cotts 5
Game Information
Attendance - 31287
Game Time - 2:29
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Field Culbreth