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St. Charles native Buehrle tosses no-hitter for White Sox

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Mark Buehrle (REUTERS file photo/Frank Polich)

By AP/KWMU

Chicago, Ill. – Chicago White Sox pitcher and St. Charles native Mark Buehrle was near perfect Wednesday night, tossing the first no-hitter of the season in a 6-0 blanking of the Texas Rangers.

Buerhle's is the first no-no by a White Sox pitcher since rookie Wilson Alvarez in 1991. It's also Buerhle's first no-hitter since high school, when he tossed a combined no-hitter for Francis Howell North High School, according to his biography on the team's website.

Buehrle faced the minimum 27 batters. The lone blemish occurred in the fifth inning when he walked Sammy Sosa, and then picked him off.

Jim Thome homered twice and Jermaine Dye launched a grand slam for the White Sox.

Bucking baseball tradition, Buehrle didn't avoid his teammates and they couldn't stay away from him, either. That's because he made sure to tell them what was happening. "You know I got a no-hitter going," Buehrle told a couple of White Sox's teammates in the dugout around the fifth inning.

He relaxed between innings by retiring to the clubhouse, watching TV and chatting with catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

But with three outs to go Wednesday night and the crowd in an uproar, Buehrle's cool was hard to maintain. "You don't want to make that one mistake and give up a hit," he said. "I could feel my knees a little bit, a little shaken, a little extra adrenaline going for the ninth inning."

"I told him I couldn't believe he walked Sammy but he picked him off," Pierzynski said. "Doesn't it count still?"

Buehrle struck out Matt Kata and Nelson Cruz in the ninth before Gerald Laird hit a slow grounder to third base that Joe Crede picked up and threw to first. As Paul Konerko caught the ball, he pumped his fist, setting off a wild celebration. "Obviously, never in a million years thought I'd be able to have this happen," Buehrle said.

Buehrle was mobbed by teammates at the side of the mound. He got a big hug from manager Ozzie Guillen as he came off the field and then a beer shower from teammates.

"I told Mark right after the game I've been nervous, but never like that in the World Series or playoffs or whatever," Pierzynski said. "When he got to the ninth inning and two outs I was a lot more nervous than I was in the World Series.

"I don't want to say there was more on the line, but for a personal accomplishment that's about as good as it gets."

On a chilly, 40-degree night, Buehrle threw 105 pitches and struck out eight in a game that took just 2 hours, 3 minutes. His previous low-hit game was a one-hitter against Tampa Bay on Aug. 3, 2001. It was the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history.

"I was part of one in high school," Buehrle said. "To get through a big league lineup three times, I never thought it would happen."

It was the first no-hitter pitched against the Rangers since June 17, 1995, when Toronto's David Cone threw one in a 4-0 win.

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