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On This Date in Sports July 23, 2009: Hurly Buehrle

in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

 

Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox tosses a perfect game in a 5-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox offense is paced by Josh Field, who hits a grand slam in the second inning. Buehrle had previously thrown a no-hitter and had six strikeouts. The big play came in the ninth inning when Dewayne Wise robbed Gabe Kapler of a home run to preserve Buhrle’s bid at history. 

Mark Buehrle was born on March 23, 1979, in St. Charles, Missouri. After attending Jefferson College, Buehrle was drafted in the 38th round by the Chicago White Sox in the 1998 MLB Draft. Mark Buehrle made his debut with the White Sox in the middle of the 2000 season. He was never a power pitcher, focusing on control and getting batters to ground out. In all but the first and final year of his 15-year career, Mark Buehrle pitched 200 innings or more. 

Buehrle had a breakout season in 2002. That season he made the All-Star team for the first time and win 19 games. He would be named five times in his career. In 2005, Mark Buehrle posted a record of 16-8 and won two games in the postseason as the White Sox won their first World Series since 1917. Over the next few years, Mark Buehrle established himself as the ace on the Southside of Chicago. In 2007 he threw the first No-Hitter at U.S. Cellular Field, blanking the Texas Rangers 6-0.

The Chicago White Sox were in first place after the All-Star Break in 2009, holding a record of 49-45 as they played on a Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. Mark Buehrle was an All-Star in 2009 and entered the start with a record of 10-3. The Tampa Bay Rays had a better record but were in third place in the East with a record of 52-43 for manager Joe Maddon, as Scott Kazmir took the mound. 

It was clear that Mark Buehrle was locked in as breezed through the first two innings, with two strikeouts. The White Sox got the first two runners on base in the second inning, as Paul Konerko had a leadoff single, while Carlos Quentin walked. After Kazmir struck out Gordan Beckham and Jayson Nix, Ramon Castro, the game’s catcher, singled to load the bases. Josh Field the ninth batter in Chicago’s lineup followed with a grand slam that gave the White Sox a 4-0 lead. 

Mark Buehrle continued to work his way through the Rays’ lineup, adding strikeouts in the fourth and fifth inning. The White Sox added a fifth run in the fifth inning when Scott Podsednik and Alexei Ramirez had back-to-back doubles. 

With a 5-0 lead, Buehrle cruised into the ninth inning with history in reach. Looking for better defense, Ozzie Guillen put Dewayne Wise in the game to play center field, moving Podsednik to left and taking the lumbering Carlos Quentin out of the game. The move paid off as Wise robbed Gabe Kapler of a home run, making a running leaping catch, in which he juggled the ball on the way down the ground. Wise’s catch thrilled the fans and gave the sense that history was to be made. After Kapler’s long out, Mark Buehrle struck out Michael Hernandez for out the second out. Jason Bartlett made the final in Buehrle’s perfect game grounding out to short. 

Mark Buehrle’s Perfect Game was the 18th in MLB history. It was the first of four No-Hitters thrown against the Rays in four years, three of those No-Hitters were Perfect Games. Mark Buehrle would continue his perfection in his next start, six days later against Minnesota Twins, setting an MLB record with 45 consecutive outs. Buehrle would end up losing that game in Minnesota 5-3.