Buehrle sets major league record, but takes loss when Twins rally

MINNEAPOLIS -- Still stewing after being beaten by a couple of bloop hits in the seventh inning of a start that began oh so perfectly, White Sox ace Mark Buehrle sounded nothing like a pitcher that had just delivered a record-setting performance.

"It's just frustrating after a loss," Buehrle said following Chicago's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. "It might mean more tomorrow or the next day once I cool off. But I'm not too happy right now."

Coming off the 18th perfect game in major league history, Buehrle retired the first 17 batters to set a record with 45 outs in a row before the Twins rallied for the win.

Buehrle (11-4) lost what would have been his second straight perfect game and his no-hitter with two outs in the sixth. He wound up allowing five runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

He'll have to take the record as a consolation prize. He surpassed the mark of 41 straight set by San Francisco's Jim Barr in 1972 and tied by teammate Bobby Jenks, a reliever, in 2007.

"Especially being able to break that here on the turf," Jenks said. "That team is known for being able to hit the ball on the ground and run. It's pretty impressive."

Nick Punto had a soft two-run single and Brendan Harris added an RBI single in Minnesota's four-run seventh inning to move the Twins (51-50) into a tie with the White Sox for second place in the AL Central.

"I'm not a big fan of broken-bat, bloop singles," Buehrle said. "It just seems like any time at this place you just know it's going to happen. You could be up 10-0 in the ninth inning and something's going to happen in that inning."

That inning was the seventh for Buehrle on Tuesday.

He breezed through the first 5 2/3 innings as he chased history. No pitcher has ever thrown two perfect games in a row, but the crafty lefty was on track to do just that when he walked Alexi Casilla on a close call with two outs in the sixth.

"He relies on location and movement," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "To see him not give up a hit ... his whole thing is pitching to contact. And you're going to get bloops. So, to think about it, it's really amazing that no one blooped one for 45 hitters."

The bloops started coming at hitter No. 47.

After the walk to Casilla, the Metrodome crowd jumped to its collective feet with a roar, trying anything it could to rattle the veteran Buehrle.

Did it work?

Denard Span followed with a single to center field to break up the no-hitter, ending Buehrle's bid to join Cincinnati's Johnny VanderMeer in 1938 as the only pitcher to throw two no-hitters in a row.

Joe Mauer hit an RBI double to tie the game 1-all, and Punto's flair to right field in the seventh ended Buehrle's night.

As he walked toward the dugout, the Twins crowd roared once more, partly in appreciation for Buehrle's achievement and partly in celebration that their team had finally gotten to the pitcher who has beaten them 23 times in his career.

Buehrle gave a tip of the cap as he left the game, making it an extremely rare occasion for a member of a division rival to be shown -- and return -- any form of respect in the Metrodome.

"It's just one of those things where you kind of appreciate and sit back and realize how hard it is to throw a no-hitter or a perfect game," Buehrle said. "Because you see today that I made some good pitches and they put them in play and got base hits off them. It's just frustrating."

Jermaine Dye hit a solo homer off Scott Baker in sixth inning and Gordon Beckham had a two-run single off Bobby Keppel in the ninth to make things interesting.

But Joe Nathan got the final out for his 28th save of the season. Baker gave up one run on four hits with six strikeouts in six innings. Jose Mijares (1-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for his first career victory.

Game notes
Buehrle's streak started with an out to his last batter two starts ago. ... Joe Crede returned to the lineup at DH for the Twins after missing the previous six games with an inflamed AC joint in his right shoulder. ... In the final season indoors, the Twins announced their All-Metrodome team. The roster includes manager Tom Kelly; starters Bert Blyleven, Brad Radke, Johan Santana and Frank Viola; relievers Rick Aguilera and Joe Nathan; C Joe Mauer; 1Bs Kent Hrbek and Justin Morneau; 2B Chuck Knoblauch; SS Greg Gagne; 3B Gary Gaetti; OFs Tom Brunansky, Dan Gladden, Torii Hunter and Kirby Puckett; DH Paul Molitor.