White Sox, Buehrle roll past Twins
Ozzie Guillen has seen Mark Buehrle win 70 games over the past five years, throw a no-hitter and lead the Chicago White Sox to a World Series championship.
One would think he already knew the answer when Guillen walked to the mound to take Buehrle out Sunday, and asked his off-speed magician to spill his secret.
"He was just asking me how I do it," Buehrle said. "He said, 'I look up there in the first inning and I see a pitch 78 miles an hour. I don't know how you get guys out."'
Whatever he does, it works.
Jim Thome hit a two-run homer to break open a pitcher's duel, Buehrle was dominant into the seventh inning and the White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Sunday.
Carlos Quentin singled off Nick Blackburn in the sixth before Thome hit his second homer of the season, snapping a 1-1 tie. Thome also hit a three-run shot in the season opener to help the White Sox beat Kansas City.
"It's nice to contribute," said Thome, who has only four hits in 19 at-bats. "I'm trying to have good at-bats, but sometimes that's not happening. We'll work to get better on this road trip."
Jermaine Dye added a homer in the eighth for the White Sox, who scored in each of the last four innings to split a season-opening six-game homestand. Chicago, which outscored the Twins 14-1 the last two games, now heads on a 10-game road trip.
"It's all about confidence," Guillen said. "I've got guys, they're all veteran players and they know what they're doing. They're not going to panic."
Buehrle (1-0) gave up a solo home run to Delmon Young in the second and then retired 15 straight batters before being pulled with one in the seventh. He gave up two hits and struck out five without a walk. Nick Punto got the Twins' next hit, a two-out single in the eighth.
"I keep telling guys velocity is not important, it's all about movement," Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "Today he really bought in. He made one mistake and other than that, he was pretty darn good."
Buehrle doesn't post a lot of strikeouts, so even getting halfway to double digits elicited a joke from the easygoing 30-year-old.
"I'm a strikeout pitcher now," he said. "What did I have, five?"
Blackburn (0-1) was pulled after giving up a single to Alexei Ramirez to start the seventh. He allowed four runs - three earned - on six hits, walking one and striking out one. He has lost his last two starts in Chicago, including last year's one-game playoff for the division title.
Thome said he guessing that Blackburn would try to get him out on a "front-door" sinker after striking him out with that pitch in the fourth.
"It came over the plate a little bit," Blackburn said. "Anybody else in their lineup wouldn't put that up there. The guy is strong. He'd had a good at-bat. I tried to come inside and didn't get it far enough inside."
The Twins committed three errors and managed only five hits - two of them off reliever Clayton Richard in the ninth - in another poor performance in Chicago. They've lost seven of their last eight games at U.S. Cellular Field.
"It was an ugly baseball game by us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Blacky threw the ball very well for us. We missed the ball, which is not the way we do things. We didn't play good defense and offensively we just didn't have a lot of good at-bats."
Minnesota threatened in the ninth, loading the bases against Richard. Bobby Jenks came in to strike out former teammate Joe Crede, then got Young to hit into a double play for his second save.
"I love Joe," Pierzynski said. "I'll never say a bad word about Joe and I wish him the best, but obviously we're playing him and we're trying to get him out. It's fun though."
The White Sox tied it in the bottom of the fifth on an error by Justin Morneau.
Paul Konerko singled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a two-out single by Dewayne Wise. Morneau then booted a sharply hit grounder by Chris Getz and threw wildly to first, allowing Konerko to score. Morneau was charged with two errors on the play.
After Thome's shot in the sixth, the White Sox added on in the seventh.
Ramirez got on base with a single, Craig Breslow hit Getz, and Josh Fields scored Ramirez with a single before Quentin drove in pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge with a sacrifice fly.
Getz left after getting a hit. He has a contusion on his right triceps and is day-to-day. ... Wise, who started the season in an 0-for-12 slump, was the only White Sox hitter to have a multi-hit game, with two singles. He's 4-for-7 over his last two starts. ... Getz reached twice without getting a hit from the leadoff spot. Getz has the only hit in that spot through six games. ... Twins 3B Crede will get a rest or serve as DH soon, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. Crede missed most of the second half last season with back problems. ... Young's homer, his first of the season, was measured at 398 feet. ... Fields has reached base in every game.