Buehrle throws no-hitter

Pitcher nearly perfect, faces 27 in White Sox's first no-hitter since 1991

White Sox 6 Rangers 0

April 19, 2007|By Mark Gonzales | Mark Gonzales,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle continued his rebound season in historic fashion last night, pitching the 16th no-hitter in Chicago White Sox history and the major leagues' first of 2007 in a 6-0 shutout of the Texas Rangers.

Buehrle delighted a cold but enthusiastic crowd of 25,390 at U.S. Cellular Field that watched him throw the first no-hitter at the ballpark. Only one Texas batter reached base - Sammy Sosa on a fifth-inning walk - and Buehrle promptly picked him off first base.

Third baseman Joe Crede made a nice play on Gerald Laird's slow roller to end the game, setting off a delirious celebration near the pitcher's mound.

"I probably was more nervous coming out of the eighth [inning] and going back to the ninth with the crowd going crazy," Buehrle said. "I could feel my knees shaking."

Buehrle said it was his first no-hitter at any level - "I pitched maybe two innings of a seven-inning one in high school" - and the first by a White Sox pitcher since Wilson Alvarez beat the Orioles, 7-0, on Aug. 11, 1991.

"His stuff was the best I've seen in two years," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of Buehrle.

Buehrle's no-hitter was the Sox's first at home since Joel Horlen beat the Tigers, 6-0, on Sept. 10, 1967. The last American League no-hitter occurred on April 27, 2002, when the Boston Red Sox's Derek Lowe beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Buehrle, 28, struck out eight, including a called third strike on Matt Kata to start the ninth inning. He threw 66 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

"He was in command," Sosa said.

Buehrle hadn't come this close to a no-hitter since Aug. 3, 2001, when he pitched six no-hit innings against Tampa Bay before Damian Rolls got a single.

"You just put your seat belt on and hold," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

This was a signature game for Buehrle, whose 98-66 lifetime record with the Sox was temporarily scarred by a 12-13 mark and a 4.99 ERA last season. Buehrle turned down a contract extension midway through the 2006 season, and negotiations have been postponed until after this season.

He also took a line drive off his left pitching arm from the Cleveland Indians' Ryan Garko in the second inning of his first start April 5, but he has been more than solid in each of his two subsequent starts.

One of the first to greet Buehrle in the clubhouse after last night's gem was general manager Kenny Williams.

"I wish I had the money [to re-sign Buehrle]," Guillen said.

Buehrle needed little help, but the Sox's struggling offense came to life with three home runs. Jim Thome hit two and Jermaine Dye hit a grand slam off Kevin Millwood in the fifth.

The Sox had scored only two runs in their previous three games and had a .215 batting average entering last night's game before their breakout.

Mark Gonzales writes for the Chicago Tribune.


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