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Mark Buehrle hurls Chicago White Sox to 6-2 victory
A return to U.S. Cellular Field against an American League Central rival with Mark Buehrle on the mound Tuesday night was the perfect cure for the White Sox's five-game losing streak.
Buehrle harnessed the Twins' offense and received ample support as the Sox played stress-free en route to a 6-2 victory.
He snapped a streak in which the Sox's starters had gone 10 games without a victory, marking their longest streak since the starters went 12 games without one in September 2004.
Buehrle was the last Sox starter to earn a victory, throwing eight innings of one-hit ball against Detroit. The Sox are 7-1 in games Buehrle has started and 9-21 when he hasn't.
"It's not that I don't believe in the rest of the guys," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's that Buehrle is so consistent, year-by-year, day-by-day, you feel that way every time he's out there."
Despite the Sox's recent woes, they improved to 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Twins at U.S. Cellular. They also hit a home run against the Twins for the 19th consecutive game.
Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye each homered, and Jim Thome had a two-run double in the seventh. Konerko is batting .429 during an eight-game hitting streak, and Thome has hit safely over his last seven games (.454).
"Hopefully the young guys follow the lead, but our lead is the big boys," Guillen said.
The biggest stabilizer in the Sox season, however, has been Buehrle (6-1), who helped his chances of representing the team in the All-Star Game in St. Louis.
Buehrle found some amusement in beating the Twins for the 23rd time in his career, his most victories against any opponent.
"I own them," Buehrle joked, with catcher A.J. Pierzynski adding, "that [comment] will be in the headlines."
Buehrle didn't walk a batter while striking out three in seven innings. He didn't allow a runner to reach second base until Mike Redmond slashed a double past third baseman Josh Fields to start the fifth and moved to third on Nick Punto's soft hit to right with one out.
Buehrle worked out of the jam when he fielded Denard Span's grounder and started an inning-ending double play.
The Twins finally broke through in the sixth when Joe Mauer hit a home run to left field, his seventh.
Fields' struggles continued. His throwing error in the seventh set up a run that cut the Sox's lead to 4-2. In the bottom of the inning, Fields lined a bunt attempt back to reliever Sean Henn and heard boos as he retreated to the dugout.
Before the game, Jayson Nix worked out at third. Fields has one hit in his last 23 at-bats and has struck out 43 times this season.