Sometimes you don't need to play your best baseball to keep a streak going. Mark Buehrle wasn't too sharp in the early innings Thursday, and the Sox offense didn't have a hit until the 4th, but the Royals did what the Royals do to keep the Sox hanging around. The Royals erased singles in each of the first two innings with bone-headed baserunning on shallow flyball. It appeared both runners failed to keep track of the ball on hit-and-runs, which led to a couple of easy outfield-assisted double plays for the Sox.
Buehrle took advantage, cruising through innings 3 through 8 picking up another more conventional double play in the process. Though again, it didn't really feel like he was doing a whole lot more than just letting the Royals do their thing, as he had only 1 strikeout in the game's first 8 innings.
I started off the 9th inning by looking up complete games with one or less strikeouts by White Sox pitchers, which was probably a jinx. So you can blame me for the Royals run. Surprisingly, the less-than-1-K complete game hasn't been a rarity even in the retrosheet era -- Play-Index lists 84 separate occurrences -- though Buehrle does own the last two such games for the Sox.
A couple of opposite field doubles in the 9th spoiled both the shutout and the complete game, but at least Bobby Jenks is happy. He got the easy 2-out save.
Offensively, Jayson Nix continues to drive the ball (2-4 w/ a HR tonight) and might be forcing his way into the lineup more often, which, given his plus glove everywhere we've seen him on the infield, can't be a bad thing. I don't expect Ozzie to pull Getz from the lineup, but it's not like he has enough upside to prevent Nix from getting a good number of at-bats.
The highlight of the game -- aside from, you know, the win, which put the Sox 3-games over .500 for the first time this year -- might have been Scott Podsednik's 4-strike at-bat. He fouled off a couple of pitches on 2-2, then appeared to take a curveball right over the heart of the plate for strike 3. Pods hugh his head and headed for the dugout as home plate umpire Greg Gibson appeared to ring him up. But Gibson's half fist pump was followed by an emphatically loud "ball" call. Pods sheepishly walked back behind him almost as if to say 'are you sure?' and unceremoniously flew out to end the at bat on strike 4.