Saturday, July 24, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
OAKLAND The only way for Mark Buehrle to better celebrate his first career win in Oaklandaside from the beer shower he was half-anticipating after the game to mark the accomplishmentwas with a little open-mic work after the game.
The veteran lefthander celebrated the one-year anniversary of his perfect game with another masterful effort, defeating the As, 5-1, in front of a sparse Friday night crowd in Oakland. And afterward, he held court and had the comedy cracking.
Everything was down in the zone, sinkers were working, Buehrle said. They were swinging early, and I dont know if that was their game plan, but when they were swinging early, the ball was down and they were hitting ground balls.
Dont you want opponents to swing early?
Yeah, when they make outs.
It took a mere 101 pitches for Buehrle to finish his second straight complete game, which was scarred by just four hits and one earned run. It was the third time in Buehrles career hes thrown back-to-back complete games, also having achieved the feat in 2001 and 2004.
The accomplishment allowed Buehrle to poke some fun at his feisty catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, who was mocking his pitcher one out short of the complete game.
A.J. was shaking his hands like I was nervous about throwing a complete game, Buehrle said. I was like, Its my second one in a row! He forgot about the last one.
As a result, Pierzynski jogged up to Buehrle after the last out, a Kevin Kouzmanoff fly out to center fielder Alex Rios, and acted like he wanted to jump in Buehrles arms or give him a hug.
This was one of those games that was fun, he said. The whole starting staff is on a good roll; lets keep it going.
Buehrle was asked whether hed petition pitching coach Don Cooper to be sure to throw on every July 23 from now on, and the southpaw pointed out that hell just have one more July 23 to pitch in 2011 before his contract runs out. (Recall that Buehrle has threatened to retire after that contract runs out, although hell be just 32 years old.
But in a nod to how much fun it is to pitch when the team performs as well as it has for nearly two months now, Buehrle offered up a tantalizer sure to fire up Sox fans of all ilks.
If I keep pitching like this, I might not be able to retire.
Buehrle was also the butt of some jokes early in the game, when the McAfee Coliseum radar gun was malfunctioning. Oakland starter Trevor Cahill hit 200 mph on the gun. His teammates on the bench, before Buehrle even had thrown a single pitch, estimated that with such a malfunction you might be able to hit 88 today.
When informed that indeed he hit 88, and in fact 800, on the malfunctioning gun, Buehrle had his response ready:
Is that some sort of record?
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.