Mark Buehrle got his first win of the year Wednesday night, and it was a doozy.
The White Sox pitcher shut down the visiting Rangers, hurling a no-hitter that owed as much to the team’s infield as it did to his 105 pitches.
Buehrle’s run seemed precarious at times, but it was kept alive through a few brilliant defensive plays. The first came in the third inning, when Sox third baseman Joe Crede caught a Jerry Hairston grounder down the baseline and threw him out at first as he came in on a head-first slide. Hairston didn’t like the call, and was tossed after exploding on first base umpire James Hoye in an apparent moment of ‘roid rage.
The next defensive gem came in the fifth when second baseman Tadahito Iguchi dove to grab a Hank Blalock grounder, then hopped up quickly and threw him out at first. And Juan Uribe brought it in the seventh with a catch in the hole and subsequent throw to Paul Konerko to tag Ian Kinsler.
Finally, the last play of the game saw another speedy grounder coming directly at Joe Crede, who fielded it and made a very timely toss over to first to get the last out and the no-hitter for Buerhle.
The one blot on this game was that Sammy Sosa prevented it from being perfect. Ostensibly spooked by his homer the previous night, Buehrle walked him in the fifth, making him the Rangers’ only baserunner of the game. Of course, he was promptly picked off at first after that, proving that Sammy’s eye at the plate may have improved, but his base-running has not.
“Now we [expletive deleted] walk him,” Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said from the dugout a night after Sosa’s three-run homer put the game out of reach for the South Siders.
Easy to overlook in all of this was the impressive night the Sox offense had. Jermaine Dye hit a grand slam that was bookended by two solo shots from Jim Thome.
Even easier to overlook is that the Sox are fourth in the AL Central right now.
Number of the Night: 16
Years since the last White Sox no-hitter, and the number of no-hitters in the team’s history.
Number of the Night, Part II: 160
Pounds Wilson Alvarez–the last Sox pitcher to toss a no-no–has probably put on since he started eating himself out of the league just a few years ago.