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Buehrle wins, ChiSox avoid sweep by visiting Twins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The ovation was loud and long, the crowd sending a message to Mark Buehrle as he walked off the mound.

Whether the fans were thanking him or telling him it's about time can be debated. This can't: Buehrle had his best game in months, and the Chicago White Sox received a much-needed victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Buehrle won for the second time in two months, A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede hit consecutive home runs and the White Sox won 6-1 Sunday to cut the Twins' lead in the AL wild-card race to a half-game.

Pierzynski and Crede connected in the fifth as Chicago turned a one-run edge into a 5-1 lead, and the White Sox went on to avoid a three-game sweep.

Buehrle (11-11) left to a standing ovation after allowing back-to-back singles by Luis Castillo and Nick Punto with one out in the eighth.

"It was louder than it was during the World Series," Buehrle said.

Mike MacDougal relieved and Mike Redmond grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Buehrle -- 2-7 in his last 11 starts -- allowed one run and nine hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Carlos Silva (8-12) continued to be bothered by the long ball, allowing three homers after giving up five in a loss to Baltimore. He lasted six innings, giving up six runs and 11 hits.

Pierzynski, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the game, followed Paul Konerko's two-out single with a two-run shot to right for his 12th homer. Crede then lined his 28th.

Juan Uribe hit his 16th leading off the White Sox sixth.

Silva watched video afterward and noticed only one hanging pitch -- the changeup that Pierzynski knocked out.

"I don't feel that I've been throwing the ball bad," he said.

Scott Podsednik had three hits and Konerko, Crede and Brian Anderson each had two.

The Twins received three hits from Castillo but little else. Still, this was a good series for Minnesota.

The Twins won 5-4 Friday on Jason Bartlett's RBI single in the ninth to take over the wild-card lead. On Saturday, Chicago's Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer off Joe Nathan in the ninth, but Minnesota won 8-7 when Punto singled in the go-ahead run off Matt Thornton in the 11th.

The teams close out the regular season with a three-game series in Minnesota that could be for a playoff spot.

"I expect that," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "It's going to be about the pitching down the stretch and who can maintain."

The Twins scored a run in the first on consecutive one-out singles by Punto, Redmond and Michael Cuddyer.

Buehrle settled down from there, and a White Sox team that had lost seven of its previous eight to Minnesota took a 2-1 lead in the third.

With runners on first-and-third after Podsednik laid down a bunt single and Bartlett misplayed Tadahito Iguchi's grounder to shortstop, Dye tied it with an infield single up the middle. Konerko then drove in Iguchi with a double off the wall in left-center to make it 2-1.

After Silva hit Pierzynski to load the bases, Punto knocked down Crede's hard one-hopper before stepping on third and throwing to first for the double play.

The lead held. Buehrle pitched like his old self.

"That's what we're all used to seeing," Cuddyer said. "He had good life on his fastball today. He was pounding guys in. His cutter was working in and he was keeping guys off balance with his changeup and his curveball. He wasn't leaving very many cutters over the plate today. That's how we're used to seeing Buehrle pitch. They needed him to go out there and step up. He did what a true ace does."

Notes

  • White Sox DH Jim Thome missed his fourth game in a row with a strained left hamstring and remains day to day. "When he's ready to go, I'll let you know," Guillen said. "Right now, he's not." After a day off, the White Sox open a three-game series against Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
  • Guillen said he has no plans to shake up his starting rotation, meaning Brandon McCarthy will stay in the bullpen. McCarthy allowed one hit and one run in 5 1/3 innings Saturday after Jose Contreras was pulled in the third.
  • Twins RHP Jesse Crain was unavailable for a second consecutive day with a sore groin.
 
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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Put it on the board! A.J. Pierzynski rips a two-run shot, which Joe Crede follows with a solo blast.  (AP)
Put it on the board! A.J. Pierzynski rips a two-run shot, which Joe Crede follows with a solo blast. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

S. Podsednik
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
Chicago

J. Crede
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B4030010 .294
Nick Punto, 3B4120001 .312
Mike Redmond, C4010002 .331
Michael Cuddyer, RF4021011 .277
Justin Morneau, 1B4020003 .319
Torii Hunter, CF4000024 .273
Rondell White, DH4000032 .217
Lew Ford, LF3000000 .228
Jason Bartlett, SS3000010 .342
Totals3411010813 
Batting
2B - Michael Cuddyer (34, Buehrle), Justin Morneau (28, MacDougal)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer (87)
SB - Luis Castillo (20, 3rd base off Buehrle/Pierzynski)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Punto-Castillo-Morneau, Punto-Morneau, Bartlett-Castillo-Morneau
E - Jason Bartlett (10, )
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Silva (L,8-12) 61165213 6.50
Dennys Reyes 1100010 0.92
Juan Rincon 1100010 2.69
HBP - Pierzynski (by Carlos Silva)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Silva 94-63, Dennys Reyes 16-12, Juan Rincon 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Silva 10-5, Dennys Reyes 2-0, Juan Rincon 2-0
Batters Faced - Carlos Silva 30, Dennys Reyes 4, Juan Rincon 4
Chicago White Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF4130101 .265
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B5100003 .279
Jermaine Dye, RF3011101 .326
Paul Konerko, DH4121001 .311
A.J. Pierzynski, C3112010 .298
Joe Crede, 3B4121001 .296
    Pablo Ozuna, 3B0000000 .336
Ross Gload, 1B4010001 .306
Juan Uribe, SS4111011 .242
Brian Anderson, CF4020010 .231
Totals356136239 
Batting
2B - Paul Konerko (24, Silva), Joe Crede (27, Reyes)
HR - A.J. Pierzynski (12, Silva), Joe Crede (28, Silva), Juan Uribe (16, Silva)
RBI - Jermaine Dye (102), Paul Konerko (93), A.J. Pierzynski 2 (48), Joe Crede (85), Juan Uribe (59)
2-OUT RBI - A.J. Pierzynski 2 (18), Joe Crede (27)
SB - Scott Podsednik 2 (35, 2nd base off Silva/Redmond, 2nd base off Rincon/Redmond), Ross Gload (3, 2nd base off Silva/Redmond)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Scott Podsednik 1
DP - Uribe-Iguchi-Gload, Iguchi-Uribe-Gload
E - Ross Gload (2, )
Chicago White Sox
Mark Buehrle (W,11-11) 7.1911060 4.71
Mike MacDougal 1.2100020 1.45
Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 105-68, Mike MacDougal 26-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 7-7, Mike MacDougal 2-0
Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 29, Mike MacDougal 5
Game Information
Attendance - 35193
Game Time - 2:21
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Andy Fletcher