Sox stars do their part in AL victory
Buehrle earns the win; Garland puts up scoreless sixth
DETROIT -- Mark Buehrle took the game ball from the 76th All-Star Game and stowed it safely away in his luggage.
"It's with my jersey and my cleats and everything [from the All-Star Game]," said the White Sox ace and winning pitcher on Tuesday night in the American League's 7-5 victory. "I'm probably going to put together a little shrine at my home."
You couldn't blame Buehrle for wanting a souvenir of this special evening. This was a night he'll never forget and one that couldn't have been scripted any better for the four White Sox All-Stars: Buehrle, Jon Garland, Paul Konerko and Scott Podsednik.
"The guys just came out and just jumped right on them," Konerko said. "That was good for Burls. That's something he'll always have. Fifty years from now he'll look at the 'W' as pretty special for him."
Buehrle started and gave up three hits in two scoreless innings. He gave up a leadoff single to Philadelphia outfielder and Home Run Derby champion Bobby Abreu, but Abreu was quickly erased when Buehrle induced Carlos Beltran to hit into a double play.
The left-hander then gave up a base hit to St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols but avoided further damage by striking out Derrek Lee of the Cubs.
Buehrle gave up a single to Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs in the second but nothing else, and struck out Mike Piazza of the Mets and Jeff Kent of the Dodgers to finish off his first career All-Star Game start with a flourish.
"I'm not really a strikeout pitcher; I struck out three guys which is kind of surprising," Buehrle said. "I always just try to make them put the ball in play and let the defense work. With that lineup you've got guys hitting eight and nine that are cleanup for their team."
When the AL went ahead to stay in the second Buehrle was on his way to victory.
"That's more exciting when your teammate gets the win," said Podsednik, who got in the game but didn't come to the plate. "Ground balls, double plays, that's what he does."
Garland came on in the sixth and after two quick outs walked Moises Alou and Ramirez. Garland kept the National Leaguers scoreless by getting Florida's Miguel Cabrera to ground into a forceout.
"I tried to do a little too much," Garland said of the walks. "Maybe the ball got away from me a little bit."
When Garland exited the game the Junior Circuit led, 5-0.
"I was thinking about [a shutout] myself," Buehrle said. "I wanted to ask if it had ever been done, but I didn't want to jinx it."
Konerko came in the game for Mark Teixeira in the seventh and got a chance to bat in the eighth, but he struck out swinging against San Diego right-hander Jake Peavy in his only plate appearance.
Even so, Konerko said he enjoyed this All-Star experience more than his previous All-Star appearance. And this time, if the White Sox, the team with the best record in baseball, are able to reach the World Series, they will have the home-field advantage.
"[There was a] light atmosphere, everybody kind of enjoys all that, but in the back of your mind you still want to win the game," Konerko said. "It got a little tight at the end, but when you have [New York closer Mariano] Rivera, it seems a little bigger lead than that."
Rivera finished off the National Leaguers in the ninth and Buehrle had his 'W'. And some souvenirs.
"Everybody got in, which was nice, and it's good to bring a win back to Chicago," Buehrle said. "It's an honor to win this game, but by no means are we thinking we've won this thing so we're going to have home-field advantage. It's going to be a tough second half."
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.