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