Bartolo Colon still isn't a handsome man. And he still only throws fastballs.
But to his credit, he's a superior version of the Colon that pitched for the White Sox in 2009, and White Sox hitters did not recognize this one.
Bartolo Colon Plus (not to be confused with "plus-size," which he's always been) held the Sox to one run over eight ultra-efficient innings. He needed just 99 pitches, and probably could have completed the game. Instead, he gave way to Mariano Rivera, who pitched a 1-2-3 inning to eliminate the prospect of a White Sox sweep.
The Sox had problems with Todd Tichenor's strike zone, which became apparent when Paul Konerko struck out looking on a fastball below his knees for strike three. Ozzie Guillen was ejected almost immediately, ran out to get his money's worth, then headed back to the clubhouse, where he sent a couple of promising tweets about his tirade before going quiet.
The same could be said for the Sox offense. They had a chance to get back in the game when they loaded the bases with nobody out in the third. But Gordon Beckham struck out looking (with nobody to blame but himself), and Omar Vizquel and Juan Pierre followed with meek pop-outs to end the threat.
That's where the game turned. The Sox did get on the board in the sixth with an RBI single by Adam Dunn that kept a rally going, but Alex Rios hit a flyout to right, and A.J. Pierzynski struck out looking on a pitch that started out at his knees and broke around the plate. Tichenor called it strike three.
A nice start by Mark Buehrle went to waste. All the damage he suffered came in the first inning. as a good lineup showed what it does with good luck. Buehrle seemed to pitch past a leadoff walk when he struck out the next two hitters, and then got a cutter in on the fists of Alex Rodriguez. But Rodriguez ended up dropping a duck-snort to right, and when Buehrle tried getting an inside fastball past Robinson Cano, Cano whipped it into the right-field seats for a three-run homer.
*Carlos Quentin went 3-for-3 with his seventh HBP of the season.
*The 3-4-5 combination of Quentin, Konerko and Dunn went 6-for-11. The rest of the lineup went 1-for-21.