White Sox 2, Cubs 1
The plan called for Mark Buehrle and the rest of the Chicago
White Sox’s rotation to dominate.
Who thought it would take this long to come to fruition?
Buehrle pitched scoreless ball into the seventh, Paul Konerko
drove in two runs and the White Sox handed Carlos Silva his first
loss, beating the struggling Cubs 2-1 Saturday for their
season-high fourth straight win.
Konerko delivered a run-scoring single in the first and another
in the seventh after Juan Pierre stole second, avoiding the tag
with a neat dive. Konerko is 20 for 42 in his last 12 games.
The Cubs got a run-scoring single from Ryan Theriot off Bobby
Jenks with two outs in the ninth, but Jenks struck out Chad Tracy
for his 11th save in 12 chances.
Buehrle (4-6), meanwhile, looked like his old self while sending
the crosstown Cubs to their ninth loss in 12 games.
The solid outing by Buehrle capped a string of strong
performances by a rotation that is finally starting to live up to
the hype. White Sox starters have a 1.60 ERA over the past five
games – a big improvement for a group that started the week with an
American League-worst 5.28 ERA.
“That’s how we were supposed to be pitching,” Buehrle said.
“That’s what we expected coming out of spring training.”
The veteran left-hander allowed eight hits and struck out seven
without a walk against an all right-handed lineup after going 1-6
with a 6.22 ERA in his previous 10 starts. He left to cheers from
the White Sox fans after allowing back-to-back singles by Tyler
Colvin and Theriot with two outs in the seventh.
Sergio Santos came in and struck out pinch-hitter Chad Tracy
with a 97-mph fastball on the outside corner.
J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless eighth.
Jenks issued a leadoff walk in the ninth to Geovany Soto, who
went to second on Kosuke Fukudome’s chopper to the mound for the
second out and came around on Theriot’s single to right, but the
White Sox hung on.
“We’re getting the good pitching and timely hitting,” Pierre
said. “We dug ourselves such a hole that it’s going to take one of
these runs to get back in this thing. This is a big stretch for
Marlon Byrd had three hits for the Cubs, who fell eight games
below .500 for the first time since they were 24-32 on June 5,
2007. They went on to win the first of two straight NL Central
titles that year.
“It’s very disappointing,” Alfonso Soriano said. “We’re not
supposed to lose like we lost today.”
Silva (8-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings
while falling short in his bid to become the first Cubs starter to
open a season 9-0 since Ken Holtzman in 1967. He set career highs
with 123 pitches and two hit batters, and although he wasn’t at his
sharpest, he delivered another solid outing.
He allowed consecutive singles by Alexei Ramirez, Alex Rios and
Konerko as the White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first and left the
bases loaded after hitting A.J. Pierzynski.
Pierre set up the White Sox’s second run with a leadoff walk in
the seventh and a spectacular dive to steal second on a
The throw from Soto beat him by about six feet, but Pierre
lifted his left arm and contorted his body to avoid shortstop
Starlin Castro’s tag before getting his hand on the bag.
With two outs, the Cubs decided to go after the surging Konerko
rather than walk him to face Carlos Quentin, and he drove in Pierre
with a single to right to make it 2-0.
As for the tag, Castro thought Pierre was out, but manager Lou
Piniella said he won’t get that call.
“He has a tendency to want to reach out instead of putting the
ball or the glove on the bag where he can tag the runner,”
Piniella said. “He wants to reach. And the umpires, when they see
you reach and then they see you reach again, they’re not going to
give you the call.”
NOTES: The Cubs will honor the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks
in a pregame ceremony on Sunday, with several players throwing out
a ceremonial first pitch and leading the crowd in “Take Me Out to
the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch. Jim Cornelison
will also sing the national anthem, as he does at Blackhawks games.
Blackhawks president John McDonough was a longtime Cubs executive.
… White Sox infielder Omar Vizquel, who’s tending to a family
matter in Venezuela, might be back in time for Sunday’s game.