Mark Buehrle was resigned to chuckling Monday night over his latest woes against Oakland.
Pitching on seven days' rest, Buehrle limited the Athletics to two runs in seven innings but was upstaged by left-handed rookie Greg Smith in the White Sox's 2-1 loss.
Buehrle's loss had more to do with the pitching of Smith, 24, who was making his second major-league start and looked as poised as Buehrle.
"He had good stuff," said A.J. Pierzynski, who had two of the Sox's six hits against Smith, whom Oakland acquired from Arizona in the Dan Haren trade in December. "We saw tape of him. We knew what to expect.
"We got some hits, but it always seems to be a single or no one on base. We couldn't string two or three together. That's good pitching."
In addition to his crafty pitching, Smith also displayed a knack for shutting down rallies. He picked off Nick Swisher in the third inning and did the same to Jermaine Dye with Pierzynski at the plate after Dye had led off the seventh with a single.
At Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Tucson last season, opponents stole only four bases in 12 attempts against Smith.
"I don't think we came off our high," Swisher said, alluding to the Sox scoring 18 runs in their previous two games. "[Smith] pitched a great game. He had great command of his changeup."
Swisher didn't take any satisfaction in reaching base in each of his first three at-bats against Smith and his former team.
"I could really care less," he said. "We lost. That's all that matters."
The Sox scored their lone run in the sixth when Jim Thome's groundout scored Swisher and cut the deficit to 2-1. But Thome struck out against left-handed reliever Alan Embree with the tying run at first to end the eighth inning.
Thome is 5 for his last 43 and hasn't hit a home run since hitting two in his first two at-bats against Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia on Opening Day.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said he informed Thome before Monday's game that he planned to give him a rest Tuesday to ensure his strength for the Sox's five-game trip that starts Wednesday in Baltimore.
"The only way you come out of a slump is by playing," Guillen said.
The Sox had a chance to pull out a win in the ninth. Jermaine Dye drew a walk, pinch-runner Brian Anderson moved up on a wild pitch and Pierzynski was hit by a pitch from closer Huston Street.
But Street struck out Carlos Quentin and induced Joe Crede to ground out to end the game.
Mike Sweeney, Emil Brown and Kurt Suzuki combined for seven of Oakland's nine hits off Buehrle, with Sweeney scoring both runs. Suzuki finished with his first four-hit game.
Sweeney raised his lifetime batting average against Buehrle to .343, while Brown improved to .444 against Buehrle.
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