Buehrle, Quentin lead White Sox past A’s
OAKLAND – Mark Buehrle was so locked in he didn’t even notice the malfunctioning stadium radar gun clock one of his first-inning pitches at 800 mph.
Chicago’s ace left-hander only seemed that dominant.
Buehrle pitched a four-hitter on the one-year anniversary of his perfect game and the White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Friday night.
“It was one of those games where everything was working,” Buehrle said. “They weren’t finding holes, I was making pitches, getting ahead in the count. You have that five to eight times a year, and when you do it’s fun.”
Buehrle (9-8) was nearly flawless through six innings against Oakland before giving up a run in the seventh that ended a scoreless streak of 26 1-3 innings by White Sox starters. He then retired the final eight batters to finish his second straight complete game.
Buehrle struck out two and didn’t walk a batter for the third time in his last four starts. He also earned his first career win in Oakland.
“He was good. He made those guys swing the bat and we played good defense behind him,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Buehrle pitched a perfect game against Tampa Bay last season but got off to a rocky start this year, losing five straight decisions at one point. He’s rebounded nicely, going 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA over his last eight starts.
“As a starting pitcher you’re going to have so many good ones and then you’re going to have bad ones throughout the year,” Buehrle said. “I think I had so many bad ones at the beginning I’m due to go on a little streak here of good ones.”
Carlos Quentin drove in two runs in his return to Chicago’s lineup and Omar Vizquel added two hits to move past Luke Appling into 50th place on baseball’s career hit list, helping Chicago increase its lead to 2 1/2 games over Detroit in the AL Central.
Quentin had not played since getting hit in his right wrist against Minnesota last Sunday. He missed three games but was back in the lineup Friday at designated hitter, a position he’ll stay at for the next few days while Chicago tries to ease him back into the outfield.
One of the White Sox top hitters before getting hurt, Quentin picked up where he left off. He drew a pair of walks, knocked in Alex Rios with a sacrifice fly in the fourth then drove in Vizquel with a groundout in the sixth.
A.J. Pierzynski added a two-run single in the ninth off Oakland reliever Henry Rodriguez.
That’s an encouraging sign for Chicago, which has won three of four on this road trip since dropping three of four at home against Minnesota.
Oakland All-Star Trevor Cahill (9-4) lost for the second time in four starts. The right-hander scattered four hits and allowed three runs over seven innings but got little offensive support from his teammates.
“That’s a game any big league pitcher would win more often than not. Unfortunately Mark Buehrle was a little better,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “We didn’t get anything going against him. He doesn’t have the overall numbers this season but he’s always capable of throwing a gem like he did tonight.”
Jack Cust doubled twice and drove in the A’s only run.
The A’s, who announced before the game that they signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a new four-year contract, lost for only the second time in nine games.
Notes: Oakland GM Billy Beane said he doesn’t anticipate trading RHP Ben Sheets, who signed a $10 million one-year deal in the offseason. Sheets (4-9) scuffled early in the season but has a 3.37 ERA over his last five starts. … The White Sox plan to use a closer by committee approach for the next few days while RHP Bobby Jenks works out his kinks. Jenks has 20 saves this season but has been struggling lately and took the loss after blowing a save against Seattle on Wednesday. “We’re a better ballclub when Bobby is the guy to close it,” Guillen said. “We’re going to put him in spots, maybe one day or two days, to see if we can regroup him.”
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