The Sports Xchange
By Brian Hedger, The Sports Xchange
Blue Jays end skid with win over White Sox
CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle didn't get the win Saturday night, but the Toronto Blue Jays won and he got a number of ovations from fans of his former team.
Starting for the first time at U.S. Cellular Field as the opposing pitcher, Buehrle went 5 1/3 innings and watched the Blue Jays feast on the struggles of the Chicago White Sox's struggling bullpen to end a four-game losing streak.
After their own bullpen coughed up a three-run lead in the sixth inning, the Blue Jays scored three runs in the seventh in a 6-3 win and earned a split in the first two games of a three-game series.
"It was a huge win," said Buehrle, who'd faced the White Sox twice before in his career but never on Chicago's South side. "We've been struggling. It's not a secret and we've got to continue it (Sunday). Once they tied it, it could've taken the wind out of our sail and we could've given up, but we came right back and scored three."
Buehrle, who threw a no-hitter and a perfect game at U.S. Cellular Field in his 12 seasons with the White Sox, looked like his former self while shutting out Chicago (58-65) through the first five innings.
He came into the game with a 1-3 record and a 6.09 ERA in seven starts since losing to the White Sox on June 29 in Toronto, but didn't have much trouble in this game until the sixth. Buehrle wound up allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings and left the field much like he did many times wearing a White Sox uniform -- to the last of several ovations he received.
"I had a little more nerves and a little more emotion going than I originally thought I was going to," he said. "Coming out of the dugout and running out, fans started chanting and going crazy, but I just tried to focus and realize what I had to do."
On his way off the diamond, he tipped his cap to acknowledge the cheers just like he used to do years prior.
"I actually texted (Paul Konerko) and kind of apologized and said 'Hey, I hope nobody is (mad) on the team that I tipped my hat kind of walking off the field because I don't know what the rule is as far as being a visitor and kind of tipping your hat," Buehrle said. "It's one of those things that I didn't want to (tick) anybody off on the other team, but at the same time, the reaction I was getting from the crowd, I felt it was right."
Buehrle's buddy, left-hander John Danks, started for Chicago and went six innings. He also allowed three runs and didn't factor into the decision.
Instead, the bullpens decided it.
Left-hander Brett Cecil (1-3), who got the Blue Jays out of the sixth with the game tied 3-3, earned his first win of the season and right-hander Casey Janssen pitched the ninth for his 19th save. Chicago right-hander Matt Lindstrom (2-2) took the loss after yielding three runs on four hits in the seventh.
"I would like to go deeper in the game," Danks said. "The way things have gone the last three, four, five starts, you take a six-inning start this time. For every other start, really, six innings is kind of a cop-out for us starters, the way we look at it. We would like to go seven, eight or nine to take the pressure off (the bullpen). It's the best thing we can do for them."
Trailing 3-0 in the sixth, Chicago tied it with three runs on four hits off Buehrle and right-handed reliever Dustin McGowan. Konerko, the Sox's designated hitter, had the game-tying single with two outs, which tied it 3-3 by scoring right fielder Avisail Garcia from third.
Toronto, however, didn't flinch. The Blue Jays re-took the lead in the seventh off Lindstrom and made it stand up. Back-to-back doubles by shortstop Jose Reyes (2-for-5, RBI) and left fielder Melky Cabrera (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) highlighted the effort, while first baseman Jose Bautista drove in the third run with a two-out single.
Garcia led the White Sox by going 2-for-4 with a double and RBI in his first game back following surgery in April to repair the labrum in his left shoulder.
"I tried to make contact to put the ball in play," Garcia said. "I had two hits today so I have to keep my head up and be ready for (Sunday)."
NOTES: Former White Sox great Minnie Minoso is hospitalized but feeling fine, according to team spokesman Scott Reifert. Minoso, 88, fell off his boat on Friday, was pulled from the water and taken to the hospital. ... Before the game, the White Sox made five roster moves. RF Moises Sierra was put on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain and RF Avisail Garcia came off the 60-day DL after an injury rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte. RHP Javy Guerra was put on the bereavement list, LHP Eric Surkamp was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte to take Guerra's spot and LHP Charlie Leesman was designated for assignment. ... White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he would try a platoon in left field between Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza now that Garcia is back to handle right on a daily basis. ... LHP Carlos Rodon, the White Sox's first-round pick (third overall) in the June draft, was promoted from Advanced-Class A Winston-Salem to Triple-A Charlotte and will make his first start for the Knights on Tuesday. ... White Sox pitching prospect Eric Johnson, a right-hander, was placed on the DL at Triple-A Charlotte. ... The Blue Jays recalled RHP Kyle Drabek on Saturday from Triple-A Buffalo. He takes the bullpen spot vacated Friday night by RHP Chad Jenkins. ... Toronto sent 1B Dan Johnson to Triple-A Buffalo to start an injury rehab assignment.
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