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Buehrle shuts outs Indians with two-hit gem

CHICAGO (AP) -- Mark Buehrle was in a hurry on Opening Day.

Working quickly, throwing strikes and letting his fielders get
involved, Chicago's lefty was in rare form.

"We have a good defense, so let them put the ball in play,"
Buehrle said Monday after pitching the White Sox past the Cleveland
Indians 1-0.

Buehrle retired the first 12 batters and allowed just two hits
in eight innings. The first White Sox season opener at home in 15
years took just one hour and 51 minutes to play.

"Buehrle was as good as I've ever seen him," Cleveland manager
Eric Wedge said.

Wedge's starter, Jake Westbrook, wasn't bad either, giving up
just four hits in eight innings and getting the first complete game
of the season.

"You got to match him pitch-for pitch," Westbrook said. "It's
tough to go out and continue to put up zeros. He one-upped me
today."

Playing its first season opener at home since the final year of
old Comiskey Park in 1990, Chicago finally broke the scoreless duel
in the seventh, thanks to an error by Indians shortstop Jhonny
Peralta.

Paul Konerko doubled down the left-field line, moved to third on
Jermaine Dye's fly to right and scored as Peralta misplayed Aaron
Rowand's one-out grounder. Peralta was the first player other than
Omar Vizquel to start for the Indians at shortstop since 1993.

"If the guy throws the ball, I'm going to be out probably,"
said Konerko, a slow runner.

"He started to run and I started to go into the ball. I
couldn't catch the ball," Peralta said. "It was a little bit
tough. It played hard off the field."

Shingo Takatsu pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Buehrle hurt his foot shagging flies on March 20 and had to skip
a spring training start before making a quick recovery. He has
started four straight openers for the White Sox.

"He's unbelievable. I know his foot is bothering him," Konerko
said.

"It wasn't that big of a deal," Buehrle said. "I missed one
[spring training] start. I felt strong out there."

The AL leader in innings pitched last season, he didn't allow a
runner until Victor Martinez led off the fifth with a single to
center on a 3-2 pitch, the ball shooting through Buehrle's legs.
Martinez was then erased in a double play.

Buehrle allowed only two other runners: Coco Crisp singled in
the seventh and Travis Hafner walked before the White Sox turned
another double play.

Last July at Jacobs Field, Buehrle retired his first 19 batters
before giving up a single to Vizquel, and faced the minimum 27
batters in the two-hit shutout.

"It kind of went through my head, especially once the guy got a
hit and the double play and back to facing a minimum number of
guys," Buehrle said.

Westbrook was just as tough, allowing only two hits in the first
six innings, singles to Dye in the second and Konerko in the
fourth.

Game notes
Cleveland is expected to announce a long-term contract for
catcher Victor Martinez at a news conference Tuesday. Martinez
batted .283 with 23 homers and 108 RBI last season and made the AL
All-Star team. "I can't say. I can't say anything about that until
it happens," Martinez said after Monday's game. The Indians have
been talking to Martinez's agent for a few months, trying to work
out a deal for their 26-year-old catcher and cleanup hitter.
Martinez was originally signed as a non-draft eligible free agent
by Cleveland in 1996. He broke in with the Indians in 2002, playing
in 12 games. He played in 49 games in 2003 and then had his
breakout 141-game season a year ago. ... Attendance on a sunny
64-degree day was announced at 38,141. ...In the last White Sox
opener at home, they beat Milwaukee 2-1. ...Cleveland's Aaron Boone
played his first game since the 2003 World Series with the New York
Yankees. The third baseman, who missed last season due to a pair of
knee operations following an injury during a pickup basketball
game, was 0-for-3 but made several nice defensive plays. ...
Buehrle threw 102 pitches, Westbrook 101.

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