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Buehrle can't win: Sox held to 4 hits
There are no secrets in baseball. But there's plenty of mystery.
Heading into Friday night's game against the Dodgers, White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle was hoping he would have the edge against a team he never has faced.
"They've never seen my cutter," he said. "If it's working, hopefully it will break some bats and get some soft groundballs. I think it's an advantage to me, but we'll have to see."
Buehrle figured to have success against a team batting just .250 and scoring 3.6 runs per game, fewest in the National League.
"You can't go in there thinking their offense is struggling," Buehrle said. "Once you do that, you're going to leave stuff over the middle of the plate and anyone can hit it. I'll try to attack them like I've done the last couple of starts."
Buehrle did his part, but once again he received little support from the Sox offense in a 2-1 loss.
Buehrle allowed just two runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked none. But he extended his winless streak to a career-high 11 games. His last victory came April 10 in Cleveland.
"We just haven't played well behind him or hit well," manager Jerry Manuel said.
The Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first Friday after Jose Valentin walked, advanced to third on Frank Thomas' double and scored on a Magglio Ordonez ground ball.
Thomas extended his season-best hitting streak to nine games. He has driven in nine runs in that span.
Brian Jordan homered for Los Angeles in the second inning, and Paul Lo Duca's RBI single in the third proved to be the difference.
Dodgers left-hander Kazuhisa Ishii (5-2) allowed four hits in seven innings, striking out nine. Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.
Manuel said Thomas' hot bat "could help us a lot because he comes up with a lot of men on base. If Magglio also gets going, it could be the start of something."
Manuel kept second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez out of the lineup for a second straight night.
Tony Graffanino, who went 2-for-5 Thursday, got the call against Ishii.
"We'll give him a chance to get a run going for us," Manuel said.
Graffanino went 0-for-4 Friday.
He's No. 1
First-round draft pick Brian Anderson visited with the Sox on Friday and put on an impressive show in batting practice, hitting a half-dozen home runs.
Anderson, an outfielder who starred at the University of Arizona, was in Southern California vacationing with his family.
"I'll take BP, shag a few balls and then find my way back to the stands where I belong," he said.
Anderson, who was given a locker between Carlos Lee and Kelly Wunsch, said the Sox greeted him warmly.
"It would be easy for them to look at me and say: `Who are you? You're brand new,'" he said. "But they took me right in. They're really nice guys."
Anderson, who has the option of returning to Arizona for his senior year, will be represented in negotiations by Terry Bross of Chicago-based CSMG Sports.
"Obviously being a first-round pick, I'm most likely going to sign," he said. "We don't know how long it will take. Hopefully I'll get on the baseball field as soon as possible."
Armando Rios rejoined the team Friday after spending four days in Florida caring for his wife, Kristina, and their three young children.
Kristina has been suffering from an undiagnosed illness for about two weeks. She has experienced dizziness, blurred vision and weakness in her left leg. She's unable to drive and has fallen down stairs.
"It's not life-threatening, and least I hope not," Rios said. "But this isn't right. She's 32 years old."
Kristina plans to see a specialist during her next visit to Chicago.
Rios said he didn't get much sleep over the past four days.
"I've been a nurse, babysitter, driver, father and husband," he said. "Hopefully we can win tonight and then I'll go to the hotel and crash for a long time."
One year later
The Sox have to be thrilled with the progress of Royce Ring, their first-round draft pick from 2002.
Ring, a lefty reliever selected 18th overall, is 1-2 with 13 saves and a 0.69 ERA for Double-A Birmingham. He ranks third in the Southern League with 13 saves and has struck out 35 batters in 26 innings.