Mark Buehrle still dwells on his imperfections while maintaining a perfect record, which is perfectly acceptable behavior to the White Sox.
Buehrle improved to 4-0 on Wednesday after a 7-2 victory over Cleveland, joining Randy Johnson and Matt Morris as the game's only four-game winners.
Johnson makes $13.3 million, while Buehrle became a veritable steal at $310,000 after the Sox lopped $15,000 off their final salary offer when he declined to sign in spring training. Buehrle insists the contract issue hasn't motivated him a bit.
"I'm just going out to do my job," he said. "I'm not even thinking about trying to pitch better to get more money next year or two years from now."
The Sox have won seven of their last eight games, pulling to within two games of the Indians in the Central Division.
After a shaky first inning Buehrle settled down to pitch eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. The last Sox starter to win his first four starts was James Baldwin in 2000, en route to a 6-0 start. Wilson Alvarez went 7-0 in his first seven starts in 1994.
Buehrle called it his "worst" outing of his four starts. His earned-run average rose from 0.95 to 1.33.
"The first three or four innings I was throwing it right over the middle," Buehrle said. "I was lucky."
Ray Durham matched a career high with four RBIs and the Sox dealt the Indians their second straight loss after a 10-game winning streak.
After beating Cleveland with their bats Tuesday, the Sox turned Wednesday's game into a track meet. They stole five bases off Cleveland catcher Eddie Perez, including two apiece by Durham and Kenny Lofton, plus Frank Thomas' first steal since 2000.
"That's why we're having some success now," Durham said. "Everyone knows their part and they're just taking care of themselves and not worrying about anybody else."
The Sox now have 19 steals in their first 14 games. The franchise record for most steals in a season is 280, set in 1901.
"Everyone has the right to run," manager Jerry Manuel said. "If you don't have the green light and run into an out, you lose your license. Frank didn't lose his license."
Buehrle served up a leadoff home run to Matt Lawton on his second pitch of the game and Omar Vizquel doubled on the next pitch, sending Buehrle staggering toward the ropes.
But after Vizquel scored on Travis Fryman's infield hit, Buehrle got off the mat and shut the Indians down until the ninth, when Keith Foulke closed it out.
The Sox scored four in the fourth off Danys Baez (2-1), tying it on Durham's bases-loaded single and taking the lead on Thomas' check-swing, opposite-field, RBI single.
It was Thomas' first RBI in six games, a drought that led him to emulate the corkscrew-style batting stance Baltimore's Tony Batista favors.
"I've gone to that Cal Ripken school of `If it ain't working, you have to make a change,'" Thomas said.
Thomas still is hitting only .240, but in the Sox's equal-opportunity offense, he's just another spoke in the machine.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times