New manager, same result.
With newly promoted pitching coach Don Cooper holding down the fort in the dugout, the pitching of Mark Buehrle was the difference in the Chicago White Sox’s 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
Buehrle (13-9) pitched a stellar seven scoreless innings in his final start of the year, allowing only six hits while striking out the same number of batters.
His opponent on the evening wasn’t too bad either. Henderson Alvarez (1-3) had a similar line with seven innings, giving up two runs and striking out six.
Chicago’s Chris Sale entered the game in the ninth and collected his eighth save of the season.
Designated hitter Tyler Flowers hit a solo home run and catcher A.J. Pierzynski had an RBI single in the win.
Blue Jays shortstop Mike McCoy also had a solo shot, but that was all the offence Toronto could create, leaving 18 men on base.
The Sox (79-82) didn’t waste much time getting on the board. In the bottom of the second inning, Flowers homered to the deepest part of centre field over the head of Colby Rasmus.
Toronto (80-81) began to press a little in the top of the third, putting men on first and second, eventually moving Mark Teahan to third on a fielder’s choice double play. Jose Bautista couldn’t convert, popping straight up into centre, ending the threat.
Buehrle was calm, collected and continued to roll.
His team gave him a little more help with the bats. In the bottom of the six, with centre fielder Alejandro De Aza on second, Pierzynski singled to right field and Bautista’s throw to the plate was a barely late as the Sox took a 2-0 lead.
The Jays threatened in the seventh inning. With men on first and second, Rasmus ran out a potential double play to reach safely while moving catcher Jose Molina to third. But Mark Teahen grounded out to third, ending another Toronto scoring opportunity.
Buehrle left in the eighth inning to a standing ovation. He saluted the crowd with fist pumps while Toronto-born reliever Jesse Crain (8-3) came in to try and finish the job.
It didn’t go as planned as McCoy, the first batter he faced, sent a solo shot to left field to bring the Jays within one. He would quickly forget his blunder and strike out Bautista to end the inning.