Final

Series: Game 1 of 2

Chi White Sox leads 1-0 (as of 7/21)

Game 1: Wednesday, July 21
Chi White Sox14Final
Cleveland0
Game 2: Thursday, July 22
Chi White Sox3Final
Cleveland0

White Sox 14

(49-42, 21-25 away)

Indians 0

(46-48, 26-21 home)

7:05 PM ET, July 21, 2004

Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

123456789 R H E
CWS 302060102 14 19 0
CLE 000000000 0 2 0

W: M. Buehrle (10-3)

L: C. Lee (10-2)

Left-hander didn't allow runner till 7th

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Mark Buehrle was pretty close to perfect.

Buehrle pitched a two-hitter, retiring the first 19 straight and facing the minimum 27 batters to lead the Chicago White Sox over the Cleveland Indians 14-0 Wednesday night.

Mark Buehrle
Buehrle

Buehrle (10-3), who was miffed he didn't make the AL All-Star team earlier this month, didn't allow a runner until Omar Vizquel lined a 3-2 pitch out of the reach of shortstop Jose Valentin with one out in the seventh.

"He faced the minimum, that doesn't happen very often," White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko said. "That team was as hot as anyone in the world, so that's pretty impressive."

Buehrle struck out four and walked none for his fifth career shutout and first complete game since last Aug. 8.

He had entered just 4-6 in 13 starts against Cleveland, and his 5.38 career ERA coming in against the Indians was his highest against any opponent.

That didn't matter. He dominated from the start, handling baseball's highest-scoring team with ease.

"It was the most impressive outing against us all year," said first baseman Lou Merloni. "He didn't have to make many pitches to get us out. He got an early cushion and then was throwing strike after strike."

Buehrle was remarkably efficient, throwing 67 of 90 pitches for strikes. And he even tempted fate, breaking one of baseball's unwritten rules by talking about his perfect game in the dugout while it was still intact.

"Guys were like, 'What are you doing?" he said. "I didn't care. It's not that big of a deal."

The Indians were as talkative as Buehrle.

"Guys yelled about it on every at-bat to jinx him," third baseman Casey Blake said. "But he had his way with us."

Carlos Lee homered twice and Valentin added a two-run shot for the White Sox, who blew it open with a six-run fifth and finished with 19 hits.

Chicago, which remained a half-game behind AL Central-leading Minnesota, had lost nine of its previous 15. But like they've done all season, the White Sox hit behind Buehrle, who is getting nine runs per game from his offense.

"Maybe they like him," manager Ozzie Guillen quipped.

Buehrle doesn't know why his teammates come out swinging for him.

"It seems like if I go out there and put up zeroes, we score 10 or 15 runs," he said.

The last time the Indians were shut out so decisively was a 14-0 loss at Yankee Stadium in 1992.

Cliff Lee (10-2) gave up seven runs and nine hits in four innings, losing for the first time in nine starts since June 3.

"They put it to me pretty good," he said. "I wasn't that bad, they were that good. They hit any pitch in any count."

Buehrle wasn't intimidated by an Indians' lineup that hit 23 homers in its previous eight games. He only went to three balls on one hitter before the single by Vizquel, who was erased by a double play.

Tim Laker led off the eighth with a single for Cleveland's other hit but he, too, was erased by a double play.

As usual, there was tension between the division rivals. Indians pitchers hit four batters, and Cleveland reliever Jeriome Roberston was ejected in the fifth inning after hitting Magglio Ordonez.

"I think the kid threw at him," Guillen said. "No doubt."

Carlos Lee hit a two-run shot in the third and added a solo shot in the fifth as the White Sox opened a 11-0 lead. Lee has 10 homers in July, four more than his total for the season's first three months.

The other big blow in the inning was delivered by Valentin, whose 21st homer leaves him four shy of joining Cal Ripken Jr. and Alex Rodriguez as the only shortstops to hit 25 or more homers in five straight seasons.

Game notes


Lee moved into sole possession of eighth place on Chicago's career home run list, two ahead of Minnie Minoso (135). ... The White Sox haven't had a perfect game since Charlie Robertson in 1922. Their last a no-hitter was by Wilson Alvarez in 1991. ... There has not been a no-hitter at Jacobs Field, which opened in 1994. ... The Indians haven't been no-hit since Jim Abbott of the New York Yankees in 1993. ... Cleveland OF Grady Sizemore made his major league debut. The club's prized prospect entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth. He popped to second for the final out.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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