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After a slow start, Buehrle quick to pitch in

CHICAGO -- Bobby Jenks at the end. Tadahito Iguchi's three-run homer after Tony Graffanino's error in the middle. And somewhere along the line, White Sox starter Mark Buehrle decided he was going to stop the bleeding.

After taking a 4-0 lead in the third inning, the Red Sox could do nothing more against Buehrle, who was relieved by Jenks in the eighth. Jenks picked up the save in a 5-4 White Sox' victory last night.

''Going back out there after we scored the five runs and to take a lead like that, you want to go out there and throw zeros as quick as you can. I want to go out there and say, you know what I need to throw zeros as quick as I can. Once I got taken out, I went over and gave everybody high-fives in the offense and said, 'Thanks.' "

Buehrle said he threw it ''right down the middle" after the third. And he allowed only a Jason Varitek single in the sixth and an infield hit to Edgar Renteria with two outs in the seventh.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen felt Buehrle was a little nervous at the start.

''I think I was more nervous yesterday sitting on the bench," Buehrle said. ''Obviously, when I woke up this morning I was really nervous. Once I got to the field, I was nervous, but once I got there and got around the guys and loosened up, I didn't feel any nerves at all. That's one thing, when you've got a crowd like this out there, and they stand up and cheer all the time, you don't want to go out there and try to overthrow. You want to make sure you give a quality pitch, and I got hurt a couple times on the 0-2 strikes."

Buehrle said being up in the series, 2-0, is great but, ''I think people know what the Red Sox did to the Yankees last year, and with that lineup, we can't slow down. We've got to go out there and finish these guys as quick as we can."

Venezuela fan club

Guillen is perhaps the most colorful and entertaining manager in baseball, not to mention a favorite for the American League Manager of the Year Award for leading the White Sox to 99 wins. But in his native Venezuela, Guillen has become an icon.

In fact, he received a call from Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Sunday after the White Sox beat the Indians.

''I would say I was honored," Guillen said prior to last night's Game 2 against the Red Sox. ''Not too many people like the president. I do. My mom will kill me, but it's an honor to talk to the president."

Chavez has certainly been in the news the past few months, mainly after Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson called for Chavez's assassination.

Guillen didn't get into the politics, but as the first Venezuelan major league manager, he is proud of his country and its more visible presence in major league baseball.

''We've got more Venezuelans in the White Sox uniform," he said. ''It's fun when you've got 20 million people [in Venezuela] looking at you and wishing you the best, and the conversation I had with the president, it was the big news over there. To me, to make my country happy about it is something I look to with a lot of pride." Asked about his own leadership skills and when he knew he was a leader, Guillen said, ''I think you don't make leaders. I think leaders are born. I was a leader when I was a kid. I remember two months ago my kids were watching [an ESPN Classic White Sox game], Tom Seaver was pitching and I go out to the mound. My kids said, 'You've got to be crazy. Why would you want to do that?' That's what it was. That's the way I am. I learned that from [Harold] Baines, Seaver, [Carlton] Fisk, to learn how to be a real leader."

Running unopposed?

Guillen said he would be disappointed if the White Sox' Aaron Rowand didn't win the American League Gold Glove in center field, especially since Minnesota's Torii Hunter missed time with a broken left ankle.

''Yes, I think having Mr. Hunter out of the picture, unfortunately, because he's a good friend of mine, there is no doubt about it," said Guillen. ''The way [Rowand] played every day, the way he goes about his business and makes the plays, I really would be thinking about it twice who would be better than him in that position."

Rowand was asked why he crashed into the wall trying to catch John Olerud's double Tuesday in a 14-2 game.

''I only play one way," Rowand said. ''I felt I could catch the ball, and I should have. I'm not going to go out there and try to play careful and try to go out at 80 percent. When I go out there, if I feel like I have a chance to catch the ball, whether it's 30-0 or 6-6, I'll try to catch it. I overshot it [Tuesday], it came up a little too long."

Rowand said the White Sox were more excited than nervous prior to the first game of the series.

''I was fine until going out there on the field to stretch," he said. ''Then you see the electricity in the crowd and the stands. It's more anticipation to get it going and get the ball rolling. When we ran onto the field when they introduced us, I got goose bumps and had butterflies in my stomach and stuff. Once the first pitch was thrown and the game got underway, it was all fine. It was more excitement and anticipation to get this thing going because everybody was excited we're here."

Good memory

Carl Everett, who had a few controversial moments during his tenure with the Red Sox, was asked about returing to Boston with a chance to clinch the series. ''Silly question," he said. But he did say the White Sox would have to keep their concentration in Fenway. ''They have their fans in Fenway and they are loud," he said. ''But we have to know that we have our fans watching us on TV and have our coaches in the dugout to support us. That's the way we have to look at it." . . . Jermaine Dye was on the Oakland A's team that won the first two games of the ALDS against the Red Sox in 2003, only to lose the next three. So he isn't overconfident. ''We know what they can do. We just have to go in and play." . . . Former Red Sox slugger and longtime White Sox television broadcaster Ken Harrelson is back home in Orlando, Fla., taking care of business interests and watching the series on TV . . . The White Sox, who were in first place for 183 days this season, had a 61-34 record in games decided by two or fewer runs, and 35-19 in one-run games . . . Jon Garland, who is scheduled to start tomorrow's Game 3 for the White Sox, threw in the bullpen for about 20 minutes before last night's game.

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