White Sox unable to get clutch hits against Buehrle
Nine hits against former teammate yield two runs; Floyd fights location
TORONTO -- The White Sox finally got to experience what it's like to face left-hander Mark Buehrle, who spent the first 12 years of his career with Chicago and helped bring the organization a World Series title in 2005.
Unfortunately, Buehrle looked like his former self on Monday, navigating his way through jams en route to his first victory as a member of the Blue Jays.
Gavin Floyd struggled with his location, the offense cooled off after a fast start and the White Sox dropped the first of a four-game set to the Blue Jays, 4-3, at Rogers Centre.
"Guys like him, they can pitch at his level because they are smart and they don't have to throw 95 [mph] to get people out," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's something I know White Sox people have seen forever, but it was a clinic."
The White Sox, who are 1-6 on their 10-game road trip, were all over Buehrle early and appeared to be on the verge of cutting his start short.
Chicago tallied four hits off the southpaw in the first and jumped out to a 2-0 lead on RBI singles from Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo. That's all, however, the White Sox were able to get off Buehrle the rest of the way, despite collecting nine hits off him.
When he had runners on base, Buehrle found a way to escape the jams, including during a pivotal fifth inning with two on and two out and Konerko at the plate.
Konerko worked the count full before swinging through a 75-mph curveball to end the threat.
"Sometimes you have two choices -- you stand up there and you strike out looking or you swing the bat on a pitch you don't want to swing at or shouldn't have to," Konerko said about the at-bat. "That's the moral of the story there."
Konerko was teammates with Buehrle for the left-hander's entire duration in Chicago and admitted it wasn't easy going up against him. In fact, he wanted no part of it.
"It felt a little weird and it's not really something you want to have to deal with, for me anyway, just because I played with him for so long," Konerko said.
"I don't think I had much fun with it and I don't think he did, either."
Buehrle, who worked 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball, said it was weird facing Chicago.
"It was different seeing the Sox uniform in the batter's box. Usually it's behind me. It's weird rooting against those guys. I've rooted for them for 13 years and wanted them to win every game," he said.
"This is the first game in I don't know how long that I'm actually rooting against them. That part of it's weird but once we cross the lines, I'm out there trying to win just like they're trying to beat my brains in. You've just got to go out there and try to perform."
Buehrle fared better than his close friend Floyd.
Floyd relinquished an early lead he was given in the first by surrendering a sacrifice fly and a solo homer to J.P. Arencibia, his fourth, in the first inning. Maicer Izturis took him deep in the second inning to put Toronto ahead, 3-2.
The right-hander allowed another run in the fourth before being lifted after loading the bases with one out in the fifth inning, but reliever Hector Santiago limited the damage and picked up Floyd by inducing an inning-ending double play.
Floyd worked 4 1/3 innings and surrendered four runs on nine hits, while walking three and striking out six.
The 30-year-old, who has had a rough start to the season, is winless in three outings to accompany a 6.32 ERA. He felt he left too many pitches up in the zone and was unable to generate much break on his slider.
"When you leave balls up consistently, you kind of get hurt a little bit," said Floyd, who has not received more than two runs of support in any start this year.
His numbers at Rogers Centre are even worse -- Floyd fell to 1-4 career with a 7.25 ERA in five games and four starts.
Despite the tough loss, Floyd flashed a smile when talking about his former rotation partner.
"He's a good guy and he's a real good friend of mine," Floyd said about Buehrle.
"What I have always been impressed with is his demeanor, how carefree and competitive he is no matter what. He's a good pitcher -- he's been in the game for a long time and been very successful."
The White Sox closed to within one run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly from Alexei Ramirez, but Tyler Flowers struck out with a runner on third to end the inning.