Dodgers silenced by Buehrle
Lowe can't keep pace with White Sox left-hander in loss
LOS ANGELES -- The equation is fairly simple for Derek Lowe.
In five victories this season, the Dodgers have supplied the right-hander with at least six runs per outing.
Over his seven losses in 2008, Lowe has been on the wrong end of a shutout on one occasion, received a single run five times and extended the grand gesture of two runs once.
On Tuesday, to open their Interleague series with the White Sox, the Dodgers were particularly stingy with Lowe on the hill and provided just a hint of offensive production in a 6-1 loss.
The pitch would be a 2-2 slider Lowe hung to Dye in the top of the eighth and the Dodgers right-hander trying to keep his deficit at one run.
Had the Dodgers led, that would have been Jonathan Broxton's inning, but the only output they could manage was a homer by Delwyn Young in the fifth. So 99 pitches in, Lowe was looking to keep the ball down and get a ground ball but Dye elevated the pitch enough to clear the wall in right and Lowe's night was effectively over.
"We put a lot of pressure on our pitchers based on the fact that we haven't scored runs," manager Joe Torre said. "Every single pitch they throw, there is a lot of pressure because we haven't scored on a regular basis. I thought Derek did a great job tonight."
Opposing Lowe in his start for the White Sox was Mark Buehrle, whose run support has been mixed.
And through seven innings Tuesday, the left-hander had been given only two runs. But backed by a team that ranks third in the AL in runs scored and is first in homers, Buehrle could afford to be aggressive.
Buehrle was also facing a Dodgers team that is ranked 13th in the National League in runs scored, 14th in RBIs and 15th in home runs.
The White Sox put Lowe in an early hole as Orlando Cabrera singled to lead off the game and A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin followed with base hits to load the bases. Lowe then struck out Dye for one of his season-high eight punchouts on the night before surrendering a sac fly to Nick Swisher.
In the top of the second inning, Dewayne Wise singled to left to lead off the inning and Buehrle helped his cause with a sacrifice bunt in front of the mound that advanced Wise to second base. Cabrera followed with an RBI single to center and Lowe trailed 2-0.
But Lowe (5-7) settled down and did not allow a run over the next five innings while allowing just one base hit, a double by Wise, and issuing just one walk.
Pitching with a lead, Buehrle did what he does best. He worked quickly, taking the ball and most often waiting for the batter to get settled into the box. The combination of the no-nonsense approach of Buehrle and Lowe matching the pace moved the game along.
"Tonight, it was evident that he wasn't going to give up a lot of runs but on the flip side I felt pretty good about my chances," Lowe said. "In tight games, one pitch makes a huge difference."
Buehrle (5-6) was around the strike zone all night over his eight innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out two, including the 1,000th of his career when he fanned pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney in the eighth. But he was getting the ground ball he needed, 15 outs in all, and was backed by some key double plays.
"He's a good pitcher. He pitched well tonight," Torre said. "But you have to go up there with a plan, You know he throws a breaking ball, you know he throws a lot of changeups. He cuts the fastball in on you. You can't be looking for all at the same time. You have to have a plan."
One particular wasted moment came in the Dodgers sixth, when Matt Kemp singled with one out and then ran about two-thirds toward second on Jeff Kent's shallow popup. But White Sox second baseman Alexei Ramirez ran it down and doubled up Kemp with a strike to Swisher at first to end the inning.
While the Dodgers were struggling to keep runners on base -- they only stranded three on the night and were 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position -- the White Sox seized their opportunity to blow open a close game.
Carlos Quentin singled to lead off the eighth and was brought home on Dye's homer. Swisher then singled to end Lowe's night and scored on a triple by Wise. Ramirez concluded the scoring with an RBI single to right.
"We need to go up there and make the pitcher work," Torre said. "Buehrle pitched great, he really did. But we have to go up there with an idea of what you're going to do."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.