<
>

Buerhle settles down after wild start

BOSTON (AP) -- Starter Mark Buehrle's pitches were wild, closer
Shingo Takatsu's were slow and the Chicago White Sox still won.

Buehrle rebounded after walking three in the first, and Takatsu
overcame bases-loaded jams in the last two innings Sunday to finish
Chicago's 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.

"I put Shingo on the spot," Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen
said. "I like to have him for just one inning and that's it."

Buehrle, who walked three batters in just one of his previous 25
starts this season, walked four in the first two innings but led
2-0 before allowing two runs in the sixth.

"I thought there were a couple of calls that could have gone my
way," said Buehrle (11-6). "I walked three in the first inning,
but they didn't score and that's what counts."

Juan Uribe's sacrifice fly off Bronson Arroyo (5-9) broke a 2-2
tie in the seventh. Arroyo had retired his first 10 batters.

"Early on he was exceptional," Boston manager Terry Francona
said. "Getting out of the sixth, it was starting to wear on him a
little bit."

Carlos Lee's third hit of the game, a two-run homer off Mike
Timlin, made it 5-2 in the eighth.

Buehrle allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings with five
strikeouts and four walks. Relievers Cliff Politte and Damaso Marte
loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, and Guillen brought
in Takatsu.

Takatsu ended the inning by striking out pinch-hitter Dave
Roberts, who swung at a 65 mph changeup.

In the ninth, Manny Ramirez walked after facing curveballs of 53
and 59 mph, and David Ortiz took a called third strike on a 66 mph
changeup for the second out.

"It was a definite adjustment facing Takatsu," said Ortiz, who
shares the AL lead with 30 homers. "Nobody throws that slow."

Jason Varitek followed with a two-run single that left runners
at first and third. Then Orlando Cabrera, who had three hits,
checked his swing on a 78 mph slider and hit a game-ending
comebacker to Takatsu, who got his 12th save in 13 chances.

"We've seen it with some of the best hitters in the American
League," center fielder Aaron Rowand said of hitters' problems
with Takatsu. "This is the first time the Red Sox have seen him."

It was a familiar spot for Takatsu, who spent the past 13
seasons with the Yakult Swallows.

"He's been in this situation a lot in Japan," Takatsu said
through an interpreter.

With the loss, Boston is tied for the AL wild-card lead with
Texas, less than a percentage point ahead of Anaheim.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Timo Perez singled and
scored on Lee's double. Lee stole third and came around when Paul
Konerko grounded out to third, beating the throw to the plate from
first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.

After the first, Buehrle allowed three hits in four scoreless
innings. Boston tied it 2-all in the sixth on a single by Varitek,
a double by Cabrera and a two-run single by Mientkiewicz.

Working on three days' rest for the second time this season and
the third time in his career, Buehrle entered with an average of
2.18 walks per nine innings in his career and 1.68 this season,
fifth in the AL.

"We're definitely upset that we couldn't take advantage of
him," Boston's Johnny Damon said. "It was not one of his better
pitching performances."

Boston had three hits in the third but failed to score. Kevin
Youkilis singled, took second on Varitek's two-out single and was
thrown out at home by center fielder Aaron Rowand trying to score
on Cabrera's single.

Youkilis hobbled behind home plate and sat on the ground for a
few minutes as Boston trainer Jim Rowe tended to him. He left the
game with a bruised lower right leg and was listed as day to day.
X-rays were negative.

Chicago catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. injured his left groin in the
collision at home plate and also was listed as day to day. He was
replaced in the bottom of the fourth by Ben Davis.

Game notes
Buehrle threw 59 pitches in his first two innings and 51 in
his next five. He had lost his previous three decisions. ...
Cabrera was 2-for-20 in his previous five games. ... The Red Sox
went over 2 million in attendance in their 58th game, a team
record. The crowd of 34,405 lifted their total to 2,033,250. All
games have been sellouts. The previous record of 60 was set last
year. ... Lee was 6-for-12 in the series with two homers and four
RBI.