Jon Garland once called U.S. Cellular Field home, but it was anything but hospitable on Saturday afternoon.
The intriguing matchup between Garland and his friend, Mark Buehrle, turned into a one-sided affair, as the White Sox knocked Garland out of the game during a six-run fourth. The rout helped shake off Sergio Santos' blown save the night before.
Garland and Buehrle battled to a draw through the first three innings, but the Sox offense ambushed the cool Californian in the fourth. Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski greeted him with a pair of singles to open the inning. Although Konerko was thrown out at third on Pierzynski's base hit, Alex Rios didn't allow Garland to gain any momentum from the defensive support. Instead, he belted a two-run homer over the White Sox bullpen.
Rios' blast was not one of those rally-killing homers that Ed Farmer talks about. Omar Vizquel blooped a double down the right-field line, Brent Lillibridge took one for the team, and Gordon Beckham dropped a single to center to load the bases (Vizquel probably should have scored, but he couldn't get a confident read on the depth).
Even Juan Pierre hit Garland hard, lining out to first and failing to drive in the run. But Alexei Ramirez ripped a single through the left side to score two, and after Adam Dunn walked, Garland's day was done.
Still, the Sox added two more runs to his tab when Konerko collected his second base hit of the inning, a seeing-eye single through the middle. The Sox led 7-1, and it was an easy coast to the finish line the rest of the way.
Buehrle was in fine form, with a defensive lapse accounting for one of the two runs he allowed. Jamey Carroll dropped a bunt single to open the third, and Juan Castro followed Carroll's lead. Buehrle fielded the bunt, but when he looked up to fire to first, he found nobody to throw to. Castro got a single due to the uncovered base, and a pair of groundouts knotted the game at 1.
Buehrle bounced back to give his team the kind of start needed after an extra-inning loss. He allowed seven hits over seven innings, didn't walk anybody, and left a cushion large enough for Tony Pena to handle by himself. The only other blemish was the first career homer by Jerry Sands, but Brent Lillibridge responded with a two-run blast of his own.
*Konerko, Pierzynski and Ramirez each had three hits apiece.
*Adam Dunn was the only guy to not get involved in the hit parade. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
*Somewhere, U-God is horking.