CHICAGO (AP) - Although he hasn't had many wins, Henderson Alvarez has impressed his manager.
Alvarez tossed seven strong innings but was outdueled by Mark Buehrle as the Toronto Blue Jays fell to the Chicago White Sox 2-1 Tuesday night.
Alvarez (1-3) has now pitched six innings or more in each of his last eight starts. He gave up two runs on seven hits and struck out six without walking a batter.
``He pitched another outstanding game for us,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. ``Look at the poise and overall stuff, he certainly gives the presence and the feeling that he belongs here.'
Chicago's Tyler Flowers hit a solo homer, his fifth of the season off Alvarez in the second. A.J. Pierzynski singled home a run in the sixth, but the 21-year-old right-hander otherwise kept pace with his counterpart.
Alvarez had abandoned his cutter earlier in the year because it was bothering his arm, but he used it effectively against the White Sox.
``The last two starts I was throwing (the cutter) and it didn't bother me,' Alvarez said. ``The most important thing about pitching was getting ahead of hitters. That's what I was doing all the time. Make those guys swing the bat.'
Buehrle pitched seven shutout innings in possibly his final start for the White Sox, the team's first game since Ozzie Guillen was released from his contract after Monday night's victory over the Blue Jays. Pitching coach Don Cooper served as interim manager.
Buehrle (13-9) allowed six hits, struck out six and walked none. He left to an ovation before throwing a pitch in the top of the eighth.
``It was pretty cool,' Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind said of Buehrle's exit.
``He's a guy in baseball that everyone respects. He may not be the most talented guy in the world, but he sure gets a lot out of his ability.'
Buehrle will be a free agent after the season. General manager Ken Williams said before Tuesday night's game he didn't know yet whether Buehrle fit into the team's future plans. Buehrle, a 38th-round draft pick in 1998, is 161-119 in his career.
The durable and fast-working left-hander has a no-hitter and a perfect game on his White Sox resume from a career that began in 2000. He reached the 200-inning mark for the 11th straight season when he got the second out of the second inning, and he's had at least 10 wins and 30 starts every season since 2001.
When the White Sox came out for the start of the eighth, the rest of the team stayed near the dugout, allowing Buehrle to go to the mound by himself. Cooper then went out and removed Buehrle from the game as his teammates stood and applauded.
Buehrle waved to the fans who were chanting his name and hugged his teammates as they headed to the field. Several minutes later, Buehrle emerged again from the dugout for a curtain call, taking off his cap and extending his arms toward the small crowd announced at 23,934.
``I've never had a curtain call,' Buehrle said. ``Just hugging the teammates, hugging everybody that's been involved in my career, it got kind of emotional there toward the end.'
Toronto's Mike McCoy greeted Jesse Crain with his second homer to cut the lead to 2-1. Chris Sale got the final five outs to earn his eighth save in nine chances.
Chicago first baseman Adam Dunn went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts, dropping his average to .159 with 177 strikeouts. Dunn needs six plate appearances in the final game to finish with the worst qualifying batting average in modern big league history, surpassing Rob Deer's .179 mark in 1991.
NOTES: White Sox RHP Phil Humber (9-9) makes his 28th appearance and 26th start in Wednesday's season finale. Humber is 1-5 with a 6.15 ERA in his last 10 starts. He is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in three career games, including a start, against the Blue Jays. Toronto counters with Brandon Morrow (11-11), whose 10.18 strikeouts per nine innings leads the American League. Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion has an inflamed nerve in his left shoulder but no structural problems. He has not been ruled out of Wednesday's season finale.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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