CLEVELAND (AP) — Mark Buehrle bounced back from a poor outing to earn his 160th career win.
The left-hander hopes it isn’t his last in a Chicago White Sox uniform.
Buehrle (12-9), whose contract is up after this season, pitched six effective innings and Chicago’s offense awoke for seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Cleveland Indians 8-4 Wednesday night.
“Buehrle threw great,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “He needed that. That’s the Buehrle we see all the time.”
Chicago fans may see him only once more for their team. Buehrle is due to start Tuesday against Toronto and the 32-year-old is not thinking about anything past that outing.
“I’m not looking at it as my last start,” said Buehrle, who gave up two runs and four hits to Cleveland. “I’m going to go out there as if I’m coming back next year. It all depends on what the White Sox want to do. They spent a lot of money this year and we didn’t get it done. They may want to go young. It’s up to them.”
The White Sox pulled within a half game of second-place Cleveland in the AL Central, well behind division champion Detroit.
Alejandro De Aza hit a tiebreaking, two-run single off Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3) in a three-run seventh. Chicago added four runs on three homers off reliever Chad Durbin in the eighth.
“A big hit there by De Aza,” Guillen said. “It was a crazy mood in the dugout and everybody felt a little better after that. I was able to go to the bullpen to close it.”
Buehrle was ready to go back out if needed. He said he felt strong, after going 0-3 with an 11.74 ERA in three previous September starts, allowing 33 hits in only 15 1-3 innings.
The skid included a career-worst 15 hits in 6 1-3 innings in a 7-2 loss to Kansas City last Thursday. The left-hander left that start after being hit in the left arm by a line drive off the bat of Alcides Escobar.
Tyler Flowers broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the fifth off Jimenez.
Travis Hafner hit his 13th homer in the sixth to put Cleveland ahead 2-1. But Jimenez, acquired from Colorado at the July 31 trading deadline, couldn’t hold the lead.
Jimenez walked Dayan Viciedo with one out in the seventh. Viciedo scored the tying run on Brent Morel’s booming double to left-center. With two outs, Gordon Beckham walked and De Aza put Chicago ahead by slashing a single to left-center.
De Aza, recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on July 27, has hit .350 (36 for 103) with 19 RBIs in his last 32 games.
“Whew,” Guillen said. “Right now, he’s our best player overall when it comes to fielding, running, hitting.”
Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios hit solo homers and Morel added a two-run shot in the Chicago eighth. Jason Kipnis had a sacrifice fly and Carlos Santana an RBI single in the bottom half off White Sox reliever Jason Frasor.
Jimenez gave up four runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out seven. His overall record dropped to 10-12, including 6-9 with Colorado before the former NL All-Star was dealt to Cleveland for four prospects.
“He was cruising until the seventh,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “I tried to stretch him a little bit like a top of the rotation guy and it backfired on us.
“You want to give him the opportunity to win the ballgame and finish that inning. He couldn’t do it.”
Buehrle needs to throw 1 2-3 innings to become the sixth pitcher since 1980 to work 200 innings or more in 11 consecutive seasons. Four of the others — Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton — are Hall of Famers. The fifth is 355-game winner Greg Maddux, a virtual lock for enshrinement once he becomes eligible in 2013.
“I’d like to get 200,” Buehrle said. “If I do or if I don’t, I still think in my mind I can come back. This (the White Sox) is all I’ve known for 12 or 13 years.
Guillen said White Sox fans should salute Buehrle, who made his first appearance for the team in relief on July 16, 2000.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Guillen said. “Regardless, he has meant a lot to the White Sox organization.”
NOTES: Guillen isn’t sure OF Carlos Quentin will play again this season. Quentin, out since Aug. 20 with a sore left shoulder, was activated Sept. 12, but feels soreness when taking batting practice. … White Sox 1B Paul Konerko sat out with a stiff back. … Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who sat out the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday with a stiff back, said he felt better and was available, but didn’t play. … Acta said RHP Josh Tomlin, despite throwing well in a simulated game Tuesday, is done for the year. Tomlin, out since Aug. 25 with a strained right elbow, had hoped to start Saturday in a doubleheader against Minnesota. With Cleveland eliminated, Acta said there is no reason to push Tomlin and that RHP Mitch Talbot, recently recalled from Triple-A Columbus, will start. Trainers pronounced Tomlin fit and expect him to be ready to return to the rotation in spring training. … Chicago’s Phil Humber (9-8) will oppose Jeanmar Gomez (4-2) in a matchup of right-handers in Chicago’s final meeting this year with Cleveland on Thursday. The White Sox lead the series 11-6.
(TM and © Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)