CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Buehrle worked quickly and efficiently Friday, looking a lot like Greg Maddux -- the pitcher he beat.
Buehrle had a smooth two-hour ride through the Cubs' struggling lineup, throwing a two-hitter in the White Sox's 6-1 win."We don't throw hard. We use a lot of movement in our pitches. You go out there and beat one of the best pitchers in the game, it makes you feel a lot better about yourself," Buehrle said after the interleague opener at U.S. Cellular Field.Maddux, meanwhile, wasn't himself. He gave up nine hits, six runs and an uncharacteristic five walks. He also had an apparent verbal exchange with home plate umpire Larry Vanover over balls and strikes."I've never seen Greg upset, basically about balls and strikes," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "Greg needs some of those calls and today he didn't get them."Paul Konerko had three RBI and Jim Thome hit his 17th homer as the White Sox made it easier for Buehrle before a sellout crowd of 39,301.Buehrle (5-2) gave up a leadoff infield single to Juan Pierre and no more hits until Ronny Cedeno had a two-out single in the seventh after the left-hander had retired 12 straight. Buehrle finished his first complete game of the season with a perfect ninth inning. He struck out two and walked two, and the only run he allowed was unearned.He said it was much easier facing the Cubs, who've lost 16 of 20, with their leading hitter and 2005 NL batting champ Derrek Lee sidelined by a broken wrist."Anytime you take him out of the lineup it's a big deal. You take Konerko out of our lineup last year, I don't think our team does what it did," Buehrle said.Konerko, now 6-for-13 against Maddux with seven RBI, had a two-out RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the third. Thome, the AL home run leader, made it 6-1 with his drive in the fifth.Are the shorthanded Cubs a little overmatched against their crosstown counterparts?"Yeah, right now," Baker acknowledged. "They've put together a pretty good team. They've got a pretty good lineup, mixed with speed, left-handers, right-handers, guys with power."Maddux (5-3) started 5-0 for the first time in his career but is 0-3 in four starts since. He was visibly upset and frustrated with some of the ball-strike calls of Vanover, who took off his mask behind the plate in the sixth and said something to Maddux.After Maddux walked both Scott Podsednik and Tadahito Iguchi in the sixth, he was removed from the game for Glendon Rusch.What was the exchange about?"Just playing the game," Maddux said. "I don't want to sit here and talk about the umpire. I like Larry Vanover. I think he's always been one of the better umps in the game. If I can get him a few more starts down the road, I'm glad to have him."The Cubs and White Sox played in the 1906 World Series, won by the White Sox in six games. The Cubs claimed titles in the 1907 and 1908 World Series but haven't won one since.That's why a fan dressed in a White Sox jersey stood behind the Cubs dugout during batting practice with a simple sign pointing to the crosstown rivals' long run of futility: "1908."The White Sox ended their drought last season, capturing their first title since 1917.Maddux got in trouble in the third when Podsednik walked, Iguchi singled and Thome walked -- one of the pitches was close to the strike zone and called a ball -- to load the bases. The 323-game winner had walked just nine batters all season coming into the game.After a visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild to Maddux, Konerko followed with a double to left for a 3-1 lead. The White Sox added another run when Jermaine Dye bounced to Cubs shortstop Cedeno, who would have had a play on Thome at the plate but hesitated and then had to go to first.Joe Crede's RBI single made it 5-1. Thome's opposite-field drive made it a five-run game.On a cool and overcast day with game-time temperature at 56, the Cubs jumped out first.Pierre hit a slow roller to third and just beat Crede's throw to start the game and Jerry Hairston followed by dropping down a nice bunt. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski picked the ball up and threw it into the ground and past Konerko for an error, Pierzynski's first since April 18, 2005, a span of 150 games.Todd Walker then delivered a sacrifice fly.In his previous outing, Buehrle gave up seven runs and seven hits in the first inning against the Twins, but only one was earned because of two errors. That inning led him to start changing the position of his glove to hide his pitches a little better.
Pierzynski's error also stopped his AL record of 962 consecutive errorless chances accepted. ... A total of 149 players have spent time with both the Cubs and the White Sox. That list includes current Cubs relievers Bob Howry and Scott Eyre and White Sox utilityman Ross Gload. ... The White Sox lead the interleague series that began in 1997, 26-23.