White Sox general manager Ken Williams was talking before Thursday night's game about taking time to evaluate players and teams at the start of a season.
Specifically, he referred to Juan Uribe, his off-season acquisition from Colorado. Williams wanted to wait a bit to see whether Uribe's fast start was just a two-week hot streak or something more.
For Uribeand the Sox in generalit appears to be something more.
Uribe had his eighth three-hit game of the season, with two home runs, and Mark Buehrle won his fourth straight with another scoreless outing as the Sox moved into sole possession of first place in the American League Central Division with a 9-0 rout of the Texas Rangers.
The back-to-back shutoutsagainst one of the AL's top hitting teamswere the first for the Sox since they blanked Kansas City in consecutive games on Sept. 26 and 27, 1995.
During his four-game winning streak, Buehrle has received an abundance of support9.09 runs per game. But he has been doing his share, yielding only two earned runs in his last 272/3 innings.
"It's easy with leads like this," Buehrle said. "I'm dialed in, but it helps with the offense getting a big lead."
Buehrle wiggled out of one jam after another with the help of his defense. In the second, Carlos Lee gunned down Chad Allen at the plate to end the inning.
Buerhle was tagged for two hits in the first, second, fifth and seventh innings, but left the Rangers wanting each time.
Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has been a big Buehrle fan from the beginning of spring training, and his admiration for the left-hander grows with every outing.
"When you're the ace of the team, that's expected," Guillen said. "I keep saying this kid is real special."
And Uribe is fun to watch hit.
After flying out to center in his first at-bat of the night, Uribe doubled and scored in the third and homered in the fifth and seventh, the third time he has homered twice in a game and the first since June 3, 2003.
"There's no way I knew Uribe was going to be my best hitter, and he is," Guillen said.
Uribe was feasting on fastballs early in the season, Williams said. Pitchers then started throwing him breaking balls. And he has kept hitting. Williams said teams don't know how to pitch to Uribe now.
Guillen said Uribe's .348 average is going to keep him in the lineup every day somewhereeither at second base or subbing for Jose Valentin at short.
"This kid is going to be in the lineup even if he has to be behind the plate," Guillen said. "He is the sparkplug of the team."
Valentin, who struggled terribly in the first two games of the series with seven straight strikeouts, hit the first pitch he saw Thursday for a three-run home run in the first inning to give Buehrle all the runs he would need.
"The dugout when he hit that home run was like he hit the game-winning home run in the World Series," Guillen said.
White Sox 9, Rangers 0