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Buehrle outduels Martinez

When Joe Crede ripped a three-run homer in the sixth inning Monday night, a few White Sox players tried to congratulate Mark Buehrle for ending his 12-start winless streak.

Buehrle wasn't buying it.

"A couple of guys gave me hugs and stuff," he said. "I was like: 'The game's not over yet. Something could happen.'"

Buehrle didn't need to be reminded.

There was the dropped pop-up with the bases loaded in Oakland. A ball getting lost in the Chicago fog. A bullpen disaster in Cleveland.

All of them came on days in which Buehrle started. All occurred since April 10, his last victory.

But there was no such misery Monday as the Sox earned a 4-2 comeback victory over Boston before a home crowd of 30,779, the team's second largest of the season behind Opening Day's 40,302.

Buehrle not only beat a lineup that entered with a .298 average, best in the game. He beat Pedro Martinez, who was limited to 71 pitches as he recuperates from a strained muscle in his upper back.

Martinez dominated the Sox for four innings, needing only 42 pitches as he faced two batters over the minimum.

But a curious thing happened in the fifth. The Sox rallied.

Paul Konerko drew a one-out walk and then beat Bill Mueller's throw to second from third on a ground ball hit by Crede. Then Josh Paul singled up the middle to score a hustling Konerko, cutting Boston's lead to 2-1.

The Sox didn't again in the inning, but Frank Thomas contributed nonetheless. He fouled off seven pitches before taking a curveball on the inside corner for strike three.

The 10-pitch at-bat ended Martinez's night.

"It was good to get him out of there," Thomas said. "If he had been pitching the whole game, the results might have been different."

The Sox wasted little time attacking Martinez's replacement, Ryan Rupe in the sixth. Crede hammered an 0-1 pitch for a three-run homer, his sixth of the season.

"It was a fastball over the plate," said Crede, who's batting .438 over his last 10 games. "I was able to capitalize on it."

Buehrle blanked the Red Sox in the seventh and eighth before giving way to Tom Gordon, who earned his first save since Sept. 1.

Manuel called on Gordon, who saved a major-league-record 54 games for Boston from 1998-99, because closer Billy Koch had been used in three consecutive games.

And Manuel stuck with Gordon when he faced the left-handed-hitting David Ortiz with one out and a runner aboard. Gordon struck him out on a 95-m.p.h. fastball.

"Flash was throwing the ball well enough to get him," Manuel said.

But this game belonged to Buehrle, who had criticized the Sox fans who booed him as he walked to the dugout after getting shelled in his last outing.

"I have to win the fans back," he said. "I heard some fans in the first inning when I was walking off [trailing 1-0] saying, 'You're screwing it up again, Buehrle.'

"But we have some great fans here. One guy behind the dugout was going off on me and the next guy was saying, 'We're behind you, keep going.'"

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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