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updated: 7/19/2011 2:34 AM

Buehrle strong again in Sox' win

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  • White Sox starter Mark Buehrle throws during Monday's first inning in Kansas City.

      White Sox starter Mark Buehrle throws during Monday's first inning in Kansas City.
    Associated Press

 
 

The White Sox still are being burned by the big four-year, $56 million contract they gave Adam Dunn in December.

Maybe he turns it around at some point, but Dunn's awkward swing was on prominent display again Monday night against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

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The designated hitter was 0-for-3 with 2 more strikeouts, and Dunn's batting average stands at a laughable .158.

Alex Rios, another big-money bust, is not far behind Dunn at .208.

So what do Dunn and Rios have to do with the Sox' 5-2 victory?

Literally, not much at all.

But with their contracts on the books through 2014, you have to wonder if the White Sox can even think about keeping a player who has certainly earned his keep on the South Side.

That would be Mark Buehrle, and the veteran left-hander was brilliant again as the Sox won the opener of a three-game series against the last-place Royals.

Buehrle pitched 7 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits.

It was his first win since June 9 but don't be fooled.

Buehrle had a 2.73 ERA over his last 5 starts but was 0-1 because the Sox' offense scored just 9 runs.

With another strong effort against K.C., Buehrle has not allowed more than 3 runs in any of his last 14 starts.

Showing he still has plenty of productive years ahead, the 32-year-old pitcher is nearing the end of his four-year, $56 million contract with the White Sox.

Buehrle likely would command a similar deal should he hit the free-agent market, and you have to wonder if the Sox can afford it.

"I wish I had the money and power to answer that question," manager Ozzie Guillen told reporters before the game.

"Everyone knows how people feel about Mark Buehrle here in Chicago. I keep saying he's one of my favorite players off the field and on the field. But in the meanwhile, do we want to see him in Chicago? Of course we do. But the plans out there, I cannot (say) yes or no.

"Do I want him? Yes. Does Kenny (Williams) want him? Yes. But we don't talk about money (or) years. All kinds of stuff goes through it.

"I don't know if we'll keep him. If we keep him, fine. If we don't, that's part of the game. I wish it was in my hands, but it's not in my hands."

Monday's game was tied at 2-2 in the sixth inning before the Sox cashed in with 2 unearned runs thanks to an error by Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar to take the lead for good.

The White Sox are 3-1 since the all-star break.

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