Mark Buehrle wasn't his normal self Sunday.
The All-Star left-hander yielded seven runs over 4 1/3 innings as the White Sox fell to Cleveland 7-4 in front of 14,975 fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
Behind three home runs in the first three innings, Cleveland jumped to 4-1 lead and was never threatened in ending the Sox's four-game winning streak.
"My cutter wasn't working for me," Buehrle (2-2) said. "It's just one of those days that when you make a mistake over the middle of the plate, they make you pay for it."
Cleveland's third and fourth batters made Buehrle pay with the Indians' first back-to-back home runs of the season. After Omar Vizquel's one-out single, Ellis Burks hit his 341st career home run for a 2-0 Cleveland lead.
"[Burks] got me 2-for-2 with a walk today," Buehrle said of the Indians' designated hitter, who is 7-for-15 (.467) with two homers against him lifetime. "Anything I do up there, it seems like he's got me. It used to be [Detroit's] Shane Halter and [Brandon] Berger from K.C. Now it seems like Burks has my number."
Shane Spencer followed with a solo shot for a 3-0 Cleveland lead. The Indians managed to load the bases on two more hits and a hit batsman before Buehrle induced a ground ball for the third out.
Buehrle's ERA rose from 1.57 to 3.27. Catcher Sandy Alomar suggested that the gusty wind might have affected the movement on Buehrle's pitches, but Buehrle wasn't so sure.
"There's no excuses," he said. "I'm just not making my pitches right now."
The Sox opened the bottom half of the first with back-to-back singles by D'Angelo Jimenez and Jose Valentin off starter Jason Davis, but Frank Thomas hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Magglio Ordonez grounded out to short.
"It looked like we might have had a shot right back at them in the first inning," Sox manager Jerry Manuel said. "We had first and second with no outs and three, four and five [hitters] coming up. But we weren't able to get anything done. That's the nature of the game."
The Sox cut the deficit to 3-1 in the second when Armando Rios knocked in Carlos Lee with an RBI single. But the Indians got the run back on Karim Garcia's first-pitch home run to lead off the third.
Cleveland chased Buehrle in the fifth after Casey Blake's two-run double for a 6-1 advantage. When Josh Bard followed with an RBI single off reliever Gary Glover, the Sox were in a 7-1 hole.
"Burks and Spencer set the tone for them," Paul Konerko said as the Indians rebounded after losing the first two games of the series. "It's tough to take four games from anybody. Our goal is to win the series and we can still do that [Monday]."
Jimenez, who went 3-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to eight games, cut the margin to 7-2 with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth off Davis (2-2).
The Sox made it 7-3 when Konerko scored Ordonez with an RBI double in the sixth. Ordonez extended his hitting streak to an AL-best 16 games. His personal best is 17.
Carlos Lee led off the ninth with a solo home run, his fourth homer in four games, to complete the scoring.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun