Buehrle stops A's jinx

Tribune staff reporter

It didn't take Mark Buehrle long to rectify his pitching problems.

The 23-year-old left-hander snapped Oakland's 10-game winning streak over the White Sox on Friday night with a performance typical of his outings last season. He allowed one run on six hits in 62/3 innings as the Sox defeated the Athletics 6-1 in front of 15,746 fans at Comiskey Park.

"It was big. We don't think they were that good of a team to beat us 10 games in a row," said Buehrle, who became the first five-game winner in the American League.

"I think I was hitting my spots a little bit better. I still was falling behind a lot of hitters. Throwing 120 pitches in [62/3] innings … that's a lot of pitches. I was just hitting spots when I had to."

Buehrle (5-2), who struck out five Friday night, had allowed three homers in the 16-1 loss at Oakland on April 27. He had surrendered eight homers in his previous six starts this season. After opening the year with four consecutive victories, Buehrle had lost two straight and had been victimized for five homers in two games.

"It was good for me to go out there and do something I hadn't done in my last two starts," he said. "Go out there and give my team a chance to win."

"Mark had an extra day's rest and he likes to compete," manager Jerry Manuel said. "If you beat him up one time, he wants to prove you can't beat him up twice.

"We have a real good offensive club that didn't show that out on the West Coast. We have a real good defensive club that didn't show that on the West Coast. We can pitch a little better than we did out there as well."

The Sox jumped on Oakland starter Mike Fyhrie (1-2) for four runs in the second inning. Consecutive singles by Jeff Liefer, Jose Valentin and Carlos Lee loaded the bases. Royce Clayton hit a one-out grounder to third baseman Eric Chavez, whose throw to the plate got by catcher Ramon Hernandez, allowing two runs to score. Kenny Lofton followed with a soft single to right to drive in two more runs.

Frank Thomas (2-for-3) blasted his fifth homer of the season in the fourth inning to give the Sox a 5-0 lead. Oakland finally broke through on Buehrle when Jeremy Giambi doubled in the fifth and scored on a Scott Hatteberg's single.

Antonio Osuna and Keith Foulke mopped up after Buehrle reached the 120-pitch count in the seventh inning

Valentin delivered a two-out RBI double in the seventh inning off A's reliever Jeff Tam to make it 6-1.

The Sox, who had lost 10 in a row to the A's dating back to last season, were outscored 32-5 last weekend in Oakland. The Sox had not beaten Oakland since April 25, 2001—a 2-1 decision in 10 innings.

Manuel said he was not overly concerned with Buehrle's mini-slump.

"There are so many things [Buehrle] can do to help himself win a game," Manuel said. "He holds runners well, he fields his position well and he has command. If he doesn't have that, he still has pitch-ability.

"There are a lot of things that have to be going bad for me to be concerned about Mark. He's just a polished pitcher at a very young age."

Copyright © 2018, CT Now