Mark Buehrle threw eight scoreless innings on Monday night, but the Oakland Athletics rallied against Matt Thornton in the ninth inning to tie and went ahead on Kurt Suzuki's home run in the 10th inning to defeat the White Sox 2-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Left fielder Juan Pierre dropped a fly ball in left field for the second time in four games with Thornton (three blown saves) trying for a save. Pierre drifted into the corner but couldn't catch Daric Barton's fly that fell for a two-base error that scored pinch runner Cliff Pennington. Andy LaRoche had led off the inning with a double on an 0-2 hanging slider from Thornton.
In the 10th, Suzuki hit a 1-2 pitch with two out and nobody on against Jesse Crain (0-1). The line shot barely cleared the wall in left field.
"I'm not going to lose confidence in myself,'' Thornton said. "I'm a grown man. I'm mature enough to handle it, you know. I'm going to bounce right back and be ready to go tomorrow. I'm going to come in here with a smile on my face and keep on working hard, and commit myself to what I'm trying to do, commit myself to each pitch, and throw each pitch with conviction, and put everything I have behind it.''
Thornton has a 2.45 ERA. He was hurt by errors by Pierre and Alexei Ramirez in the Rays' win on Friday but also served up a home run pitch. Pierre didn't help him on Monday night, but Thornton threw a bad pitch to LaRoche.
"He has to get going,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Right now, the balls don't bounce his way. Today, the two swings they put up were pretty good swings, the double and the line drive to first base and then the fly ball, they hit them pretty good.
"Keep your head up, we are here for him. He's going to be back out there. Like I say, it look like a rewind of the game a copule of days ago. We make a couple of mistakes and today again, we don't help him.''
Buehrle said he didn't object to coming out despite his performance. His pitch count was 99, 14 more than his previous high. Guillen said he has to "take care of Buehrle" and not over-use the veteran, especially early in the season.
"Our bullpen, they are getting paid pretty good. I have confidence in the bullpen,'' Guillen said. "I'm going to use those guys the best way I can and the most I can. I think our bullpen, we have guys with good arms and they can pitch.''
There's no doubt some help from the defense would help, especially in left field. Already this season, Pierre has dropped two fly balls in left, Mark Teahen dropped one for an error and Lastings Milledge misplayed two into doubles.
Brent Lillibridge, who hit the 10,000th home run in Sox history for the only Sox run against starter Dallas Braden, came to Pierre's side after the game.
"Juan works his tail off and has all the respect in the world in this clubhouse,'' Lillibridge said. "He's had a couple of tough plays but it's not a lack of effort and it's not a lack of drive. He's going to be the hardest guy on himself and we want him to know it's not a big deal. We're going to win a bunch of games because of him.''