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Buehrle garners well-deserved honor

Buehrle garners well-deserved honor

It's simple, really. Throw the 16th perfect game in modern Major League history, and you have a pretty good shot at being named Player of the Week.

Such was the case for White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle, who was flawless against the Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday and was named American League Player of the Week, presented by Bank of America, on Monday.

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In his club's 5-0 win over Tampa Bay, Buehrle, who notched a no-hitter on April 18, 2007, against the Rangers, struck out six batters and got some help from a miraculous over-the-wall grab by center fielder Dewayne Wise in the ninth inning. It was the first perfect game since Randy Johnson threw one as a member of the D-backs on May 18, 2004, against the Braves, and the first AL perfect game since the David Cone's for the Yankees on July 18, 1999, against the Montreal Expos.

The 30-year-old Buehrle is now the 24th pitcher in history to throw multiple no-hitters and only the sixth of those with a perfect game to his credit.

"It was quality pitches," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said after the perfect game by Buehrle, who takes home his second career weekly honor. "And he has been doing that for a long time. To me, he is one of the most underrated pitchers in the American League the last 10 years."

Buehrle is 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 20 starts this season. Take away one bad outing this month -- when he gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Twins on July 12 -- and he has given up just five runs in 31 2/3 frames in July (an ERA of 1.45).

The White Sox (51-48) went 4-3 last week and are currently two games behind the first-place Tigers in the AL Central.

"Obviously, any time your name gets up there with some of the greats in the game, it means a lot," Buehrle, who got a call from President and White Sox fan Barack Obama, said after his gem last week. "I think it's another thing when you retire and sit back and you see how many perfect games have been thrown in history and your name's in there. I think that's when I'll sit back and kind of be surprised."

Other nominees for AL Player of the Week were Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (five home runs and 11 RBIs), Indians ace Cliff Lee (2-0 with a 1.69 ERA), Angels shortstop Erick Aybar (14 hits) and Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill (.346 batting average and four home runs).

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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