CHICAGO -- This time, the only thing perfect about Mark Buehrle's outing against Tampa Bay was the Rays' approach at the plate.
"We didn't get too greedy," Evan Longoria said. "We just took what he gave us and got some breaks."Facing Buehrle for the first time since his July 23 perfect game against them, the Rays knocked the White Sox ace out of the game in the fifth inning Wednesday night and went on to beat Chicago 12-0.Longoria, Jason Bartlett and Sean Rodriguez had three hits apiece as Tampa Bay won for the eighth time in nine games. The attack backed an outstanding performance by Rays rookie Wade Davis (1-1), who allowed two hits in six innings.Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen gave his team a pep talk after a fifth loss in six games. The last-place White Sox already trail AL Central-leading Minnesota by six games and are batting .217."I saw a lot of glum faces and I was kind of worried," Guillen said. "When you look up and see .180, .190, .200, .210, you want to hit .300 in one at-bat. That's hard to do. Just take it one at-bat at a time and give it your best shot."Even having Mr. Perfect in the mound couldn't change Chicago's fortunes.Buehrle struck out the side in the first inning and retired Carlos Pena on a liner to open the second -- making it 31 up and 31 down in the lefty's last two games against the Rays -- before B.J. Upton poked a double down the right-field line.It was the first of several soft, opposite-field hits for the Rays."He pitches to the outside part of the plate and we didn't try to pull him," Upton said. "We were a lot smarter against him this time."Buehrle (2-2), who allowed six runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, said both the perfect game and Wednesday's outcome illustrate baseball's luck factor."If people watched the game, they saw what happened," he said. "But if they didn't, they'd say I got it handed to me. It was just one of those days."Another difference between Wednesday and July 23: Rodriguez was in Tampa Bay's lineup this time.Acquired from the Los Angeles Angels last September, Rodriguez was a spring-training sensation with a .460 average and six homers. During the season, however, he had struggled, entering the game batting .160 with no extra-base hits.Rodriguez, playing for only the second time in a week, doubled to right in the third and scored the first run on Bartlett's single. His RBI single capped a four-run fourth that broke open the game. He added a three-run homer off Tony Pena during a six-run sixth."This guy's got a nice track record of success," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Most of it's been in Triple-A but ... his ability's going to translate in the big leagues. Once he gains his confidence here, he's going to play like what you saw in spring training."Davis allowed Juan Pierre's bunt single to start the game and walked three of the next five batters before settling down. He didn't walk anybody else and the only other hit he allowed was Pierre's line-drive single in the sixth. He struck out six.The 24-year-old right-hander has a 2.65 ERA, and he hasn't been intimidated despite going up against All-Star pitchers CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett and Buehrle in his three starts."I want to be in their position someday," Davis said. "It's competitive. You've got to bear down."
In the fourth, Buehrle got Carlos Pena to hit a catchable foul pop but the ball fell between first baseman Paul Konerko and second baseman Gordon Beckham. Pena eventually walked, and soon the rout was on. ... Buehrle had been 8-2 against the Rays. ... Chicago's bullpen went into the game with a best-in-baseball 1.64 ERA but gave up six runs in the sixth. After Randy Williams issued two bases-loaded walks and was yanked, the small crowd that braved the 39-degree night let out a loud, sarcastic cheer when Scott Linebrink threw a strike on his first pitch. ... Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist didn't start for the first time this season. The outfielder-infielder is batting .115 since April 14. "He's been expanding his strike zone a little," Maddon said. "I just want him to sit and watch a little bit." ... White Sox RF Carlos Quentin went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and is hitless in his last 20 at-bats.