Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Posted 5:41 p.m. Updated 6:44 p.m.
By Brett Ballantini
GLENDALE, Ariz. Mark Buehrle tossed his longest and strongest outing of the spring on Wednesdaybut San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum was better.
Paced by an outstanding 5 13 innings (three hits, seven Ks) from the ace of the defending champions, the Giants defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-3 at Camelback Ranch.
Don't worry about Buehrle
Buehrle was touched for seven hits over five innings, punching out three and leaving the game tied 1-1.
Throwing to A.J. Pierzynski helped, Buehrle said. We work well together and get into a routine. This is the first time Ive thrown to him in spring training.
Im very happy for him, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. After his last performance he was a little upset. He threw the ball very good. Every time Buehrle goes out and pitches well, he creates a positive thing for him We know what he can do, but he needs an outing like this before we break camp.
The lefthander mentioned that while San Francisco didnt field its starting lineup in the game, there was a good mix of hitters to face: they were bunting and kind of mixed everything up, so it felt good.
I was taking it a little bit easier, not overthrowing and mostly working on location and movement than trying to throw the ball hard. Thats a strength of mine, location and movement, offspeed pitches and keeping them off-balance.
In short: Buehrles in midseason form.
The White Sox drew first blood when Alex Rios tripled in Paul Konerko in the second. San Francisco got that run back in the fourth, when Brad Eldred singled in Giants phenom Brandon Belt (the rookie first sacker went 3-for-4 with three runs scored on the game). The champs pushed ahead two innings later, pummeling White Sox reliever Jeff Gray for four hits and two earned runs, the first coming on a solo shot from Belt.
Brian Bruney came on to pitch in the seventh and gave up two runs as well, pushing the Giants lead to 5-1.
The White Sox halved that on a seventh-inning, two-run blast from Brent Lillibridge.
Lillibridge nearly tapped a second round-tripper with a massive blast to left-center with two on and one out in the ninth, but left fielder Tyler Graham chased the ball down on the warning track.
Hes swinging the bat goodthe battle for that 25th roster spot is getting fun, Guillen said Two-three days ago I said nobody was impressiveI guess they read the papers The battle from the guys in the back is pretty good right now. Milledge is playing well, De Aza playing good, and Lilli is swinging the bat well. Its going to be fun. Thats the fun thing about spring training. This ballclub is going till the end of spring training to be picked.
Infante en fuego
Gregory Infantes last three appearances have vaulted him to the front of the line for the 12th man in the bullpen, according to Guillen.
Infante is moving up, throwing the ball very well, he said. Im very surprised, personally. Were going to continue to give everybody looks, but right now Infante has been throwing the ball well and Im hearing a lot of good things from Coop.
Against San Francisco, Infante finished the game with a perfect inning and one strikeout, lowering his Cactus League ERA to 6.00.
Love from 2005
Buehrle buzzed former teammate Aaron Rowand when he faced the centerfielder twice in the game, retiring him both times, starting with a first-inning, inning-ending strikeout.
I threw all curveballs to him, Buehrle said with a smile. Its kind of hard to buzz him with a curveball. Im just glad A.J. didnt tell him what was coming, since theyre roommates for spring training. I figured something was going to slip out. And if A.J. did, keep on telling everybody whats coming because it worked. I got Rowand out.
See the World Champs
Guillen joked about the large crowd 10,074 that showed up on a Wednesday, Ozzie had a laugh at his own clubs expense.
I dont think people came to see the White Sox and Buehrle, he said, laughing. When youre the champs, people are going to follow you everywhere. When you win it all thats what you get, people follow you all over the place. People root for you. Its fun. Id rather play in front of 10,000 than the 1,000 weve had in the last two weeks. Its always fun to have people in the stands. I know bigger crowds are coming up, but its nice now.
Jake Peavy remained at home today, stricken with flu. Nothing physical with him. He just doesnt feel good, Guillen said.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.