CHICAGO (AP) — Mark Buehrle felt a little more nervous and a little more emotional than he thought he would. The pitcher received a standing ovation from the crowd as he took the mound against his former Chicago White Sox teammates.
Buehrle tipped his cap and then allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings in his first start as a visitor in Chicago and third game against the White Sox overall.
The Toronto starter didn’t earn a decision, but the Blue Jays beat the White Sox 6-3 on Saturday night. Melky Cabrera’s two-run double in the seventh inning was the difference in Toronto’s win.
“The reception I got, I was kind of thinking it might be good, but what they did, coming off the field every time I ran out, to hear people cheering, it was exceptional,” Buehrle said.
Buehrle texted former teammate, and White Sox captain, Paul Konerko to make sure it was OK that he tipped his cap to the crowd.
“It’s one of those things that I didn’t want to (tick) anybody off on the other team, but at the same time the reaction I was getting from the crowd, I felt it was right,” Buehrle said.
The Blue Jays, who snapped a four-game losing streak, scored three runs in the seventh to retake the lead after the White Sox tied it with three runs in the sixth.
Avisail Garcia went 2 for 4 with a double for the White Sox in his first game since April 9 after recovering from shoulder surgery.
Brett Cecil (1-3) got two outs — both by strikeout — to earn the win. Casey Janssen worked one inning for his 19th save in 22 opportunities.
The Blue Jays allowed Buehrle to take the field alone before the bottom of the first inning, and fans gave him a standing ovation.
While with the White Sox from 2000-11, Buehrle threw a perfect game on July 23, 2009, against Tampa Bay, and a no-hitter on April 18, 2007, against Texas.
“I’m kind of glad it’s over,” said Konerko, a teammate of Buehrle’s on the 2005 World Series championship White Sox team. “Him in another uniform doesn’t look right to me. Quite honestly, I really don’t have it in me to want to see him do badly, so I don’t like the combination.”
The Blue Jays took a 2-0 lead on Dioner Navarro’s sacrifice fly and Nolan Reimold’s RBI single in the second. Toronto extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on Jose Reyes’ RBI single.
The White Sox tied it with three runs in the sixth. With runners on first and second, Dustin McGowan replaced Buehrle.
“It was starting to snowball,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said about removing Buehrle.
Both runners advanced on a wild pitch before Dayan Viciedo’s sacrifice fly made it 3-2. Konerko tied it with a single, but the White Sox bullpen gave the lead back in the next inning.
The Blue Jays scored three runs with two singles, two doubles and a Chicago error. Matt Lindstrom (2-2) allowed four straight hits before recording an out.
Cabrera hit a two-run double and advanced on an error. Jose Bautista followed with an RBI single for a 6-3 lead.
Buehrle has one victory in his last 13 starts.
“I take pride going deep into games, and I didn’t really go deep into the game today, so that’s the frustrating part,” he said.
Blue Jays: 1B Dan Johnson began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday. He is on the DL with a strained left hamstring. Toronto also called up RHP Kyle Drabek from Triple-A to replace RHP Chad Jenkins, who was optioned to Buffalo on Friday.
Drabek began the season in the Triple-A rotation, where he went 4-6 with a 4.46 ERA. After the first-round draft pick moved to the bullpen in mid-June, his numbers improved. In 16 relief appearances, he was 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA.
White Sox: Garcia was reinstated from the 60-day DL, and OF Moises Sierra (oblique) went on the 15-day DL on Saturday. The White Sox also recalled LHP Eric Surkamp from Triple-A Charlotte, placed RHP Javy Guerra on the bereavement list, and designated LHP Charlie Leesman for assignment before Saturday’s game.
In the finale of the three-game series Sunday, Toronto starts RHP Drew Hutchinson (8-10, 4.60 ERA) against RHP Scott Carroll (4-7, 4.81).