CHICAGO (AP) — Danny Valencia has seen this all before.
Buehrle pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning and Tyler Flowers drove in two runs as the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 3-0 Monday night in a game played in a brisk 2 hours, 4 minutes.
Buehrle (11-6) pitched around two walks in 7 2-3 innings and struck out four. He won his 159th game, tying him for sixth on the White Sox’s all-time list.
Buehrle has allowed only one earned run in 30 2-3 innings this season against the Twins and has 27 wins in his career against Minnesota. He has more wins against the Twins than any other active pitcher has against a single opponent.
“It’s funny. Everytime he pitches against us I say the same thing. He’s a guy that works really fast. Throws a lot of different pitches and he throws them all for strikes. He keeps you off balance. He does a good job,” said Valencia. “You could see our at-bats for the entire night. We really had trouble getting swings off. It’s unfortunate, because it seems like we’ve been swinging the bats pretty well these past few days. He did a great job today.”
The Twins are just one-half game ahead of the last-place Kansas City Royals in the AL Central and have lost eight of its last nine.
“If we made some plays, it could have been a 0-0 ballgame. I think all three runs really shouldn’t have been out there without us giving it to them,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The White Sox have won four straight and improved to two games above .500 for the first time since April 13. They also moved within five games of the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.
Jesse Crain got an out in the eighth and closer Sergio Santos pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 31 chances, finishing the four-hitter.
Twins starter Kevin Slowey (0-3) allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings.
“I definitely made some strides in the right direction, mechanically as well as pitch selection. Sort of falling back into a little bit of a better groove,” said Slowey, who was out from May to August with an abdominal strain.
After allowing a leadoff walk to Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the eighth, Ben Revere moved Nishioka to second on a sacrifice bunt. Buehrle then retired Trevor Plouffe on a soft liner to second. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen pulled Buehrle after 109 pitches. After Buehrle left to a standing ovation, Crain struck out Michael Cuddyer to end the inning.
Buehrle, who is a free agent after the season, isn’t worrying about his future with the White Sox.
“I have five, maybe six starts left in me. After that fifth or sixth start if we’re out of it answer a few questions and go home enjoy the offseason just like I do in any other year,” said Buehrle. “To be honest with you I’m not thinking about it at all.”
Before its current four-game winning streak against Minnesota, Chicago had lost 17 of 20 to the Twins and only won for the second time in 11 games against the Twins at U.S. Cellular Field.
The White Sox manufactured a run in the second inning. With one out, Alejandro De Aza doubled to left. He then stole third and scored on Flowers’ sacrifice fly.
In the seventh, Dayan Viciedo led off with a single against Slowey and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by De Aza. Flowers followed with a double to left-center to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead.
The White Sox got another run in the eighth. With two outs and Alexei Ramirez on second, Viciedo hit a slow roller to Valencia at third. Valencia wasn’t able to field the roller and Ramirez rounded third base hard and continued to the plate and scored without a throw.
Both pitchers worked at a rapid pace, the first five innings were completed in under an hour.
Again, the Twins had to play without catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau. Mauer was out with a sore neck for the sixth straight game and Morneau injured his left shoulder diving for a ball in Sunday’s win over the Tigers.
Gardenhire said Morneau is day to day and Mauer took swings in the cages before Monday’s game.
“Obviously with Mauer and Morneau not in there and (Jim) Thome got traded it’s totally a different lineup,” said Buehrle. “They’re still capable of doing some damage.”
NOTES: Tuesday’s scheduled Twins starter Anthony Swarzak, allowed just four hits and one run in six innings, while striking out five in his victory over the White Sox on July 10. … Zach Stewart, who earned his first major league victory on Aug. 6 against the Twins, is scheduled to make his seventh start of the season on Tuesday. …. White Sox 1B Paul Konerko made his first start at first base since July 31. Konerko has been used as the DH with a left calf bruise.
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