At the beginning of spring training, it appeared there might not be enough room to keep Carlos Quentin and Brian Anderson on the Opening Day roster, and Toby Hall hadn't given his recovering right shoulder a vigorous test.
But matchups and injuries to others have paved the way for the threesome to fit nicely Wednesday night into a White Sox offense that has embarked on a potent revival.
Mark Buehrle's crafty performance.
"It's not an easy job what Brian and Toby are doing, coming from the bench and performing the way they're performing," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's asking a lot, and I'm happy with the way they're doing it. I feel proud of those guys. They go out there and they never complain about not playing. Almost every time I put them in the lineup, they do pretty well."
Quentin silenced lingering concerns about his recent slump by cranking his first home run in 37 at-bats in the fifth off left-hander Tom Gorzelanny.
Quentin was 1-for-18 before hitting the homer, his team-high 17th.
Anderson, starting in center field for the 21st time this season, ripped a solo shot off Gorzelanny in the sixth.
But Hall set the tone in the second with a two-run shot in the second for his first home run since June 4, 2006, against Toronto while playing for Tampa Bay—a span of 278 at-bats.
Hall is batting .407 (11-for-27) against left-handed pitchers this season as he gives Guillen more options against lefties.
"I signed over here for a reason," Hall said. "Unfortunately, I got hurt last year. You can't control that. But it's a new year, and it's nice."
There's a chance Hall could start Friday in the series opener against the Cubs and left-hander Ted Lilly.
The Sox improved to 13-10 in games against left-handed starters, a big improvement over last season's 16-28 mark.
When the Sox weren't hitting home runs, they found other methods to score. Alexei Ramirez's sacrifice bunt in the seventh set up Jim Thome's RBI single, on which Orlando Cabrera slid hard into home plate, and Thome scored from first base on Nick Swisher's double.
Hall and Quentin's home runs were plenty of support for Buehrle, who didn't allow a hit through the first five innings.
His no-hit bid ended on the first pitch of the sixth when Jose Bautista hit a towering home run down the left-field line.
"[The no-hitter] was in my mind," said Buehrle, who scattered four hits over eight innings. "… The only concern was that I was getting a lot of outs on fly balls."
Buehrle (4-6) has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts, lowering his ERA from 5.81 to 4.28.
White Sox 8, Pirates 2
Buehrle, White Sox bats beat Pirates
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