AP photo by Nam Y. Huh|
Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle is doused with cans of beer as teammates celebrate his Wednesday night no-hitter against the Texas Rangers. The no-hitter was one walk away from being a perfect game, and becomes the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history.
Buehrle no-hits Texas
Chicago pitcher nearly
perfect in mid-week win
By Rick Gano
Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO — Mark Buehrle pitched the first no-hitter of the season Wednesday night — and he was nearly perfect, too.
The Chicago White Sox left-hander faced the minimum 27 batters in a 6-0 victory over the Texas Rangers, picking off the only hitter he walked and throwing his team's first no-hitter since 1991.
Working quickly and efficiently in a dominant performance, Buehrle allowed only one baserunner. He walked Sammy Sosa with one out in the fifth inning, then promptly picked him off first base.
"I can't believe I did it," Buehrle said. "Perfect game would have been nice, too."
With the crowd on its feet in the ninth, Buehrle struck out Matt Kata and Nelson Cruz, then got Gerald Laird to hit a slow grounder to third base that Joe Crede picked up and threw to first. As Paul Konerko caught the ball, he pumped his fist, setting off a wild celebration.
Buehrle was mobbed by teammates at the side of the mound, including catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and then got a big hug from manager Ozzie Guillen as he came off the field.
On a chilly 40-degree night, Buehrle threw 105 pitches. His previous low-hit game was a one-hitter against Tampa Bay on Aug. 3, 2001. It was the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history, and first since Wilson Alvarez threw one at Baltimore on Aug. 11, 1991.
"I was part of one in high school," Buehrle said. "To get through a big league lineup three times, I never thought it would happen."
It was the first no-hitter pitched against the Rangers since June 17, 1995, when Toronto's David Cone threw one in a 4-0 win.
More than two years passed without a no-hitter in major league baseball before rookie Anibal Sanchez threw one for Florida on Sept. 6, ending the longest stretch without a no-no in big league history. His gem against the Arizona Diamondbacks was the first in the majors since Arizona's Randy Johnson threw a perfect game to beat Atlanta 2-0 on May 18, 2004.
Buehrle, who retired 20 of the final 22 batters he faced in his previous start against Oakland, had some stellar defensive plays behind him before a crowd of 25,390 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Three of the closest plays came on grounders. Jerry Hairston hit one to Crede at third in the third inning and was called out at first after a headlong slide. Replays showed Hairston was out, but he was ejected by first base umpire James Hoye for arguing and had to be restrained.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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