White Sox 6, Orioles 3: Early assault leads to series win

Wednesday night, the White Sox learned that whichever team took an early 4-0 lead would go on to win the game.

Tonight, they seemed to take that lesson to heart. The White Sox scored four runs on Chris Tillman before making their first out, setting the course for a relatively easy victory.

The Sox also seemed to learn their lessons from their slow start against Tommy Hunter from the day before. Like Hunter, Tillman threw strikes. Unlike Hunter, Tillman couldn't avoid the barrel of the bat.

Juan Pierre set the tone from the get-go. He fell behind 0-2, fouled off three pitches and then shot a single to center for the first of his three hits. Two pitches later, Alexei Ramirez took a knee-high 0-1 fastball over the left-field wall for a 2-0 lead.

Paul Konerko hit a double to right-center on a 1-2 count, and scored on Carlos Quentin's second-pitch double. Then Quenin scored on A.J. Pierzynski's second-pitch double. The Sox had five hits on 16 pitches, leading to four runs.

That turned out to be enough for Mark Buehrle, but a two-run third inning made it smoother sailing. Brent Morel's baserunning played a big part. He singled Adam Dunn to third with one out, taking second on the throw. That put him in scoring position, and he indeed crossed the plate on Pierre's single.

Wait a second -- that was an infield single! Chris Davis couldn't come up with Pierre's chopper down the line, knocking it into foul territory. He then had to push Phil Cuzzi out of the way to find the ball, and when he got to it, he assumed Morel would stop at third. He assumed incorrectly, because Morel scored standing.

 

That made Buehrle's lone rough inning (the third) far more tolerable. He gave up a one-out, ground-rule double to Nolan Reimold, which came around to score on J.J. Hardy's single to get Baltimore's first-run on the board. But they ended up cutting the six-run lead in half when Nick Markakis turned on an inside fastball for a two-run homer.

Both sides' pitchers took hold of the game thereafter. Brad Bergesen came in and kept the Sox scoreless for 4 1/3 innings, but his offense couldn't make up any ground off Buehrle, who threw just 104 pitches over eight innings and didn't walk a batter.

Buehrle picked up his 10th win of the season, giving him a double-digit victory total in each of his 11 seasons as a full-time starter. He also allowed no more than three runs for his 18th consecutive start.

Notes:

*Buehrle induced 14 groundouts, and he kept Alexei Ramirez busy. Ramirez was up to the task, including a nice diving stab-and-throw on a Vladimir Guerrero grounder up the middle.

*Paul Konerko had a pair of doubles, giving him three in the eight games since hurting his leg. He only had 16 over his first 103 games.

*Sergio Santos was overpowering for his 25th save, striking out two during an easy 1-2-3 inning.

Record: 58-59 | Box score | Play-by-play

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