Buehrle pitches White Sox to 5-2 win over Royals
Monday, July 18, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mark Buerhle finally picked up a win. No surprise it happened in Kansas City.
The veteran left-hander lasted seven innings on a steamy Monday night, and the Chicago White Sox capitalized on an error by young shortstop Alcides Escobar to beat the Royals 5-2 and give the hard-luck Buehrle his first victory since June 9.
“That’s what we’re looking for every time we score, our pitcher to shut it down,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
It’s not as though Buehrle (7-5) hasn’t been pitching well lately. After all, he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs going back to April 22, and the White Sox have won 11 of his last 13 starts. It’s just that he hasn’t had much support while he’s been on the mound.
Buehrle still didn’t get much Monday night, but it was enough for his 22nd career win over Kansas City. The only pitchers with more are Bert Blyleven (34), Roger Clemens (25) and Nolan Ryan (24) — some pretty decent company.
“It just shows you’ve been around, you’ve been healthy,” said Buehrle, who is in the final year of a four-year, $56 million contract and has expressed interest in staying in Chicago.
“They weren’t the best team the past couple years, but they’re getting better,” he said. “And it seems the past couple starts against me, they’ve gone out there and given me trouble.”
Not this time.
Melky Cabrera and Billy Butler drove in the Royals’ only runs before Buehrle turned it over to Jesse Crain. He worked a perfect eighth inning, and Matt Thornton and Sergio Santos tag-teamed the ninth as the White Sox (47-49) inched closer to the .500 mark.
The Royals lost for the 16th time in their last 20 games against the AL Central.
Kyle Davies (1-9) pitched about as well as he has all season for Kansas City and still got saddled with his eighth consecutive loss on a night when the temperature at first pitch was 95 degrees and the heat index registered 102.
The hot topic of local talk radio, Davies set a career high with nine strikeouts in only 5 1-3 innings, but Escobar’s errant throw doomed him to another bitter defeat.
The 24-year-old shortstop fielded a routine grounder with the game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, but he zipped his throw past second baseman Chris Getz while trying to start a double play.
By the time first baseman Eric Hosmer corralled the ball, Gordon Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski were standing on second and third with just one out.
“Getz was ready to take the throw on the back of the bag and he threw it to the front of the bag. It just wasn’t a good throw,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You can make mistakes and end up giving up a run or two, but you better be able to cover it offensively and cover it on the pitching side. We’re just not able to cover mistakes right now.”
That proved true moments later when Mark Teahan’s chopping groundout to first allowed Pierzynski to score the go-ahead run. Juan Pierre followed with an RBI double for a 4-2 lead.
Beckham tacked on another run with an RBI groundout in the eighth.
“”I was trying to pitch on both sides of the plate and not be so predictable,” said Davies, who hasn’t won since beating Minnesota on April 13. “I still need to be a little bit better than that.”
Especially when it seemed that every small miscue resulted in a run: Juan Pierre tripled leading off the first inning and scored on a sacrifice fly, then Alexei Ramirez singled in the third inning and scored on Paul Konerko’s double to build a 2-0 lead.
The Royals tied the game up — then threw it away.
“It just comes down we’ve got to win a ballgame,” Davies said, “and we didn’t tonight.”
Notes: Royals LF Alex Gordon was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his foot Sunday at Minnesota. Yost said that Gordon received treatment Monday and he shouldn’t be out too long. ... Guillen reiterated his support for bringing back Buehrle next season, but the manager said it won’t be his decision. “I wish it was in my hands, but it isn’t,” he said. ... The Royals dropped to 13-24 against the AL Central this season. The White Sox improved to a modest 11-17 against teams from the division. ... Pierre has a 10-game hitting streak.
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