Buehrle shines as White Sox win season opener, 1-0
Diamond in the rough: Offense was hard to come by, but Paul Konerko went 2-for-3 with a double, and he scored the only run in today's victory. (@whitesox_fanly)
Note: With baseball paused for the 2020 season, we're running some reimagined game recaps in conjunction with NBC Sports Chicago replaying key games of the 2005 White Sox World Series season.
It was a classic pitchers' duel at US Cellular Field this afternoon, as the White Sox took down Cleveland by a score of 1-0.
White Sox starter Mark Buehrle was on top of his game. Though Cleveland's hitters only struck out five times in eight innings against him, they struggled to make any kind of sharp contact. Unfortunately, the White Sox's bats also had trouble, as solving Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook proved to be a difficult task.
The first baserunner of the game for either team was Jermaine Dye, who singled off Westbrook with one out in the second. Dye reached second base on a groundout by Aaron Rowand, but he was stranded at second after A.J. Pierzynski lined out to end the inning. Meanwhile, the first Cleveland baserunner was Victor Martinez, who led off the fifth with a single up the middle. However, that glimmer of hope for Cleveland was dashed on the very first pitch to the next batter, as Aaron Boone grounded into a double play.
The next scoring threat for either team was in the top of the seventh, when Cleveland put runners on first and second with one out. Buehrle fell behind Martinez 2-1, but he made a great pitch to force an easy double play ball to retire the side. As of the seventh-inning stretch, the game was still scoreless. Luckily, the White Sox finally broke through in the bottom half. Slugger Paul Konerko led off with a double into the left field corner for his second hit, becoming the only player with a multi-hit performance. Dye followed by flying out to right, but his fly ball was plenty deep enough to get Konerko to third. Rowand hit a soft grounder to shortstop, but Jhonny Peralta could not handle it, so Konerko scored, and Rowand reached first easily.
The White Sox had a chance to add to the lead, as Rowand stole second, and Pierzynski followed with an infield single (a good play by Cleveland second baseman Ronnie Belliard probably would have gotten A.J. at first, but who cares? A.J. got an infield single to second!) to put runners on the corners. However, Joe Crede grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Fortunately, that run was all the White Sox needed, as Buehrle threw another shutout inning in the eighth, and Shingo Takatsu closed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The White Sox open the season with a 1-0 record, while Cleveland drops to 0-1. Freddy García is the White Sox's probable starter on Wednesday (April 6, 2005), and he is set to take on Kevin Millwood.
Anyway, before I sign off for the day, enjoy these trivia questions from the future:
- Which player got the last White Sox single in 2005?
- A variation of today's Aflac Trivia Question: Which pitcher holds the White Sox record for most wins on Opening Day?
- Jermaine Dye, who also got the team's first single today, as noted earlier.
- Mark Buehrle, with four (2002, 2005, 2010, and 2011). Jack McDowell, Billy Pierce, and Chris Sale each had three Opening Day victories with the team.