CHICAGO -- After going 1-2 with a 5.10 ERA over his last four starts, Mark Buehrle allowed only two hits and an unearned run in his first complete game of the season Friday during a 6-1 White Sox win over the Cubs.
The left-hander started the game by giving up a Juan Pierre infield single and a sacrifice fly. Buehrle went on to allow only two baserunners over the remaining seven innings.
"I think besides the first [inning], Buehrle really threw the ball the way he always does," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He was throwing strikes, changing speeds [and his] location was great.
"When you do that, as a result, you're going to have a good game," Guillen added.
The win improved Buehrle to 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA on the season and gave Buehrle his third career win against the Cubs. Cubs manager Dusty Baker acknowledged that Buehrle deserved a great deal of the credit for his offense being shut down.
"He was that good," Baker said. "He's a very good pitcher and he gets strike one."
Buehrle had no problem getting more than strike one Friday, with 74 of his 105 pitches finding the zone. He feels like he's in the groove for the first time since his 3-0 start, after what Guillen called his best effort of the season.
"You feel like you can go up there and make your pitch and they can't hit it. I pretty much had every pitch working," Buehrle said. "A.J. [Pierzynski] was calling a great game back there. We had that rhythm back like earlier this season."In his last start Sunday in Minnesota, Buehrle became the first pitcher in 106 years to allow seven runs in the first inning while still earning a win. Only one of the seven runs was earned, and Buehrle pitched a shutout for his remaining five innings to help the Sox come back to beat the Twins, 9-7.
There was some concern that Buehrle had been tipping his pitches in his last few outings, but he seemed to have worked that problem out by Friday -- with the help of a side session in St. Petersburg.
"I did what I did from the second inning on in Minnesota," Buehrle said. "I worked on it in [St. Petersburg] a little bit in my bullpen session and it worked today. Ever since I changed it up, I've been throwing pretty well."
Buehrle took advantage of the absence of Cubs offensive star Derrek Lee, who is out with a fractured wrist. Lee is 3-for-3 lifetime against Buehrle, with a double and a home run.
"I can't get that guy out," Buehrle said. "Anytime you take him out of the lineup, it's a big deal."
Cubs first baseman Todd Walker gave Buehrle credit for taking care of the remaining lineup.
"We faced a buzz saw today," said Walker, who drove in the Cubs' only run. "He was really good."
Buehrle continued his trend of speedy pitching, with games averaging less than 2 hours, 30 minutes when he starts. Friday's game against a similarly-paced pitcher, such as Greg Maddux, clocked in at 2 hours, 7 minutes.
Leslie Parker is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.