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Chicago's Mark Buehrle sets major league record

White Sox ace retires his 42nd consecutive batter coming off a perfect game. His feat breaks a 37-year-old record.

July 29, 2009|Mark Gonzales

MINNEAPOLIS — The angriest major league record holder dwelt more Tuesday night on how his perfect-game bid tumbled into the Chicago White Sox's 13th defeat in their last 15 games at the Metrodome than on his achievement.

"Right now, nothing," Mark Buehrle said of setting a big league record by retiring 45 consecutive batters as the White Sox were dropping a 5-3 decision to the Twins. "It's probably the most fired up I've been after a game."

Buehrle, in his first start since throwing a perfect game Thursday, was agitated because the Twins' well-placed hits in the sixth and seventh innings led to the defeat.

He had thrown 5 2/3 perfect innings after his gem last week and surpassed the record of 41 consecutive batters retired, previously shared by San Francisco's Jim Barr (1972) and White Sox closer Bobby Jenks (2007).

"It's an honor," said Buehrle, who has two no-hitters and a World Series ring on his resume. "This is one of those things I didn't think I'd do. But it's frustrating."

The White Sox fell into a second-place tie with Minnesota and remain two games behind Detroit in the American League Central after losing for the fifth time in their last six road games.

"We've been lucky all year long," Manager Ozzie Guillen said. "When we play bad, the division is playing worse."

Buehrle set the record when he retired former teammate Joe Crede on a grounder to short, with first baseman Paul Konerko making a backhanded pick of Alexei Ramirez's throw. Several fans in the stands were aware of Buehrle's achievement and applauded.

After the streak reached 45, Buehrle had an 0-and-2 count on Alexi Casilla but couldn't put him away. Casilla drew a walk, and that ignited mild applause from Twins fans.

Buehrle's no-hit bid ended when Denard Span hit a soft single to center field, and then Buehrle lost his shutout when Joe Mauer hit a deep drive to left field. Scott Podsednik ran toward the line and appeared to be in position to make the inning-ending catch, but the ball eluded his glove for a ground-rule double that drove in the tying run.

In the seventh inning, Michael Cuddyer was hit by a pitch, and second baseman Chris Getz broke toward second base before Crede hit a single in the area Getz vacated. Run-scoring singles from Brendan Harris and Nick Punto knocked out Buehrle, who received an ovation.

"I'll get in too much trouble, but I'm not a big fan of guys getting base hits when hit hard, and I'm not a big fan of broken-bat, bloop singles," said Buehrle, who appreciated the ovation from rival fans.

Before the game, White Sox General Manager Ken Williams conducted trade talks and intimated some executives were more aggressive than others.

"There are the usual cast of characters that are never an eighth-grade dance," he said. "They send you a message whether it's a text, an e-mail, a phone call. It's senior prom, it's not eighth-grade dance when they pick up the phone."

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mgonzales@tribune.com

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BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX

Most consecutive batters retired

45Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox, 2009

41Jim Barr, San Francisco Giants, 1972

41Bobby Jenks, Chicago White Sox, 2007

40Tom Browning, Cincinnati Reds, 1988

Los Angeles Times

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