06/25/08 1:50 AM ET
Buehrle makes quick work of Dodgers
Lefty gets 1,000th K as Sox snap nine-game road losing skid
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
With the cost of last-minute travel from the Midwest to California a little bit too prohibitive in this specific instance, Mark Buehrle was on his own with one out in the eighth inning and sitting just one strikeout away from this milestone. Buehrle needed just two strikeouts when the night started, and that second came when Sweeney went down swinging on a 1-2 offering.
There wasn't much celebration to follow, aside from Buehrle getting the baseball. In some ways, he was almost disappointed that No. 1,000 didn't come in his next start Sunday night at home against the Cubs.
The White Sox (42-34) don't have a single complaint where Buehrle's last four starts are concerned. His eight innings pitched on Tuesday, covering 95 pitches, matched the exact total thrown by Buehrle in each of his three previous trips to the mound.
During that particular time frame, Buehrle (5-6) has a 3-0 record with a minuscule 1.36 ERA. There were concerns about Buehrle's effectiveness at the beginning of the season and even unfounded whispers about possible shoulder soreness that caused him to be held back a start.
As of Tuesday night, Buehrle looks exactly like the staff ace whom the White Sox invested $56 million in over the next four seasons.
"That's one player I don't ever have to worry about," said manager Ozzie Guillen. "It's one guy who is never going to change. He just pitches his game and is going to give everything he has every time out. But he's been outstanding the last six or seven starts."
"I'm just making my pitches," Buehrle added. "Even when I'm missing my spots, the hitters are popping them up or getting a single instead of a home run. I've always said there's a lot of luck involved."
Delwyn Young's solo blast in the fifth counted as the only blemish of the night against Buehrle, who didn't issue a walk, and has given out four free passes over his last four starts. The White Sox, meanwhile, just did enough in the early going against Derek Lowe (5-7) to give Buehrle a 2-1 lead entering the eighth.
Jermaine Dye put the game away at that particular point, launching a two-run home run to right-center with one out and Carlos Quentin on first base. Dye tied Quentin, who had two of the team's eight hits, with his 17th home run. It also was the American League Player of the Week's seventh home run and 17th RBI in his last eight games.
To say Dye is on a bit of a roll with the bat is like saying Buehrle worked somewhat quickly during Tuesday's victory, which took a mere 2 hours, 5 minutes.
"I feel like I'm having good at-bats, seeing the ball well and swinging at strikes," said Dye, who now is hitting .297 with 44 RBIs. "But [Lowe] really made one mistake all night on me, and I hit a home run."
"When he's hot, he can carry a ballclub," added Guillen.
Dewayne Wise, who earned high praise from Guillen before the game, responded by falling a home run short of the cycle during the victory, driving in one and scoring twice. Orlando Cabrera added two hits in this monumental win.
And it was not just monumental because of Buehrle's career accomplishment in the eighth. The White Sox exorcised the demons from a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs this past weekend, and put to an end their nine-game road losing streak. It was the longest skid since the White Sox lost 11 in a row on the road in 2007.
It also was their first road win since May 29 over Tampa Bay.
"Hallelujah," said Guillen with a laugh. "Oh, God. It has been hard. But if we want to get where we want to get, we have to win games on the road.
"One day we don't hit, and then we don't pitch. And when we hit and pitch, then we don't make the plays. After our crazy weekend and to do what we did today, it was good for everyone."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.