ChiSox hand Brewers' Hoffman first loss
A.J. Pierzynski had already broken four bats when he ducked into the clubhouse before the ninth inning to grab another. That's when he heard the TV commentators say Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman had been perfect so far this season.
"I said, 'Oh, he's jinxed now. We're going to get him.' And we found a way to do it," the White Sox catcher said.
Pierzynski singled with two outs in the ninth inning off previously perfect Hoffman and starter Mark Buehrle hit his first career home run to lift Chicago to a 5-4 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.
Corey Hart homered twice and Casey McGehee added another solo shot for the Brewers, who've lost six of seven. Milwaukee went 1-5 on its homestand.
Hoffman (0-1) came in with a string of 18 straight scoreless innings. But Pierzynski singled past second baseman Craig Counsell to score pinch-runner Clayton Richard with the go-ahead run on a 3-0 count.
"It wasn't a bad pitch if you go back and look at it, I just knew that was the best pitch I was going to get and it might be one of the first times I've ever swung 3-0 in my career," Pierzynski said.
It was also the first time Richard, a starting pitcher, had ever pinch ran. The single wasn't hard enough for center fielder Mike Cameron to make a throw home.
"It found a hole," Hoffman said. "You have to make a better pitch, but A.J. is a tough guy to get out."
After getting the first out, Hoffman got in trouble by walking pinch-hitter Jim Thome, who was pulled for Richard. Scott Podsednik hit a soft single through the infield and Alexei Ramirez flied out to bring up Pierzynski.
Reliever Matt Thornton (4-1) got two outs in the eighth. Bobby Jenks notched his 14th save in 16 chances after working around a one-out single by pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto.
It's been a good start to a short, nine-game road trip for the White Sox, who took two of three at Miller Park. They'll drive 90 miles back to Chicago for an off-day on Monday before a three-game set opens at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Tuesday.
Gordon Beckham, who had his first two career RBIs on Saturday in a 7-1 win, drove in two more in the fourth inning off Braden Looper when he doubled in the corner to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead. Chicago's top draft pick last year advanced to third on Buehrle's groundout and scored on a two-out single by Podsednik that made it 4-2.
"When you're a kid and you got big hits and you know it, that helps you for the next day and that just opens you for more confidence and more relaxed playing the game," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
But Hart, mired in a 2-for-23 slump until Wednesday, hit a leadoff homer in the fourth and tied it with a solo shot in the sixth.
"It's one of those things that comes and goes," said Hart, who is 7 for his last 16. "And right now, I've got it."
Buehrle was done after six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk, but not before his big hit in the third inning.
"I was in shock because I've seen him hit so many times and he stinks and then to hit a home run. Poor Looper, man, he threw it right where he swung, not where he was looking for it because there was no looking for it," Pierzynski joked.
Buehrle, who came in with three singles and 20 strikeouts in 36 career at-bats, drove a full-count fastball into the White Sox bullpen. It was the first homer by a Chicago pitcher since Jon Garland did it against Cincinnati on June 18, 2006.
Pierzynski had a shocked look on his face as Buehrle celebrated the feat alone. He ran straight into the clubhouse because he saw his teammates prepared to give him the silent treatment.
"I actually came in here and laughed," said Buehrle, who last homered in high school. "I couldn't believe what happened."
McGehee hit his first career home run in the third to give Milwaukee a 2-1 lead after he'd scored the Brewers' first run in the first inning off Prince Fielder's two-out single. He finished a triple short of the cycle. ... With a day off on Monday, RHP Jose Contreras will stay on regular rest. The White Sox will push back the left-handed Richard until the Reds' series next weekend. ... With Brewers LHP Manny Parra's demotion to Triple-A Nashville, manager Ken Macha says they don't have a plan yet for who might start on June 27, the next time they'll need a fifth starter.