Buehrle bounces back against old team and clips Sox 4-3
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com April 15, 2013 7:44PM
Updated: April 15, 2013 11:14PM
TORONTO — Former White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle played Paul Konerko to a draw, but he had the upper hand against his former team on Monday night, providing a vintage Buehrle start over 61/3 innings and leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory at the Rogers Centre.
Winning for the first time as a Jay after two subpar no-decisions, Buehrle got off to a slow start but finished well to hand the Sox their sixth loss in seven games on their road trip.
The rubber game of the match between Konerko and Buehrle, friends, former teammates and fan favorites who forever will be remembered as cornerstone players on the Sox’ 2005 World Series championship team, came in the fifth inning with runners at the corners and Buehrle leading 4-2.
Konerko had singled in a run in the first and lined out to left in the third. This time, with a full count, Buehrle struck out Konerko on a good curveball. Konerko implied that Buehrle got a favorable strike call from plate umpire Tony Randazzo on a borderline pitch that put the count at 2-2 instead of a favorable 3-1.
“I was having the at-bat I wanted to have,’’ Konerko said. “I had a 2-1 pitch that was . . . whatever. Sometimes you have two choices — you stand up there and strike out looking or you swing the bat on a pitch you don’t want to swing at or shouldn’t have to. That was the moral of the story there.’’
Konerko and Buehrle had said they might have to stifle smiles when they faced each other, but they were all business. Buehrle (1-0) and the Sox (5-8) badly needed a win.
“It’s one of those where you have a job to do, you go out there and do it,’’ Konerko said. “Now that it’s over — I’m sure we’ll get him again at some point later in the season when they come to us. It felt a little weird, not really something you want to deal with, for me anyway, because I played with him so long. It was a good ballgame, and he pitched well.’’
The same couldn’t be said for Sox starter Gavin Floyd (0-3), who could not finish the fifth inning. Floyd gave up nine hits, including five for extra bases. J.P. Arencibia and Maicer Izturis homered.
“He was up with his pitches,’’ Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Buehrle, making his first career start against the Sox after 12 years on the South Side and one with the Marlins, left in the seventh with one out and a runner on base to a standing ovation from a crowd of 15,755.
“It wasn’t as strange as I thought,’’ Buehrle said. “Trying to not make eye contact with them, just kind of looking at the glove and keeping my head down more, which isn’t me.’’
There was a chance Buehrle would get together with his former teammates after the game, but there was no clowning around in the fifth.
“Obviously, you don’t want to screw around there with runners on, and if something bad happens, it won’t look good,’’ he said.
“I just kind of said to myself, ‘Don’t make eye contact with him whether there’s nobody on base or it’s bases loaded.’ I obviously know how good of a hitter he is. You have to make some pitches there, so you have to keep the ball down on him.’’