CHICAGO -- Mark Buehrle was pretty cool about his no-hitter. Until he had three outs to go.
"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."
Imagine how jittery Buehrle might have been if he was still working on a perfect game.
The Chicago White Sox lefthander faced the minimum 27 batters in a 6-0 victory over the Texas Rangers last night, picking off the only runner he walked and throwing the first no-hitter of the major league season.
Working quickly and efficiently in a dominant performance, Buehrle allowed just one base runner in Chicago's first no-hitter since 1991. He walked Sammy Sosa with one out in the fifth, then promptly picked him off first base.
"I can't believe I did it," Buehrle said. "Perfect game would have been nice, too."
Buehrle stayed calm all night. Bucking baseball tradition, he joked with teammates and even went to the clubhouse to watch some TV and chat with catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Then came the ninth. With the crowd on its feet, Buehrle struck out Matt Kata and Nelson Cruz 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. "I don't know if it's really sunk in yet."
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.
"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.
Buehrle said his teammates tried to avoid him on the bench as the game progressed, determined not to jinx him. But he went up to a couple of players in the dugout around the fifth inning and said, "You know I got a no-hitter going."
"People try to jinx and I was trying to jinx on myself," Buehrle said.
On a chilly, 40-degree night, Buehrle threw 105 pitches and struck out eight in a game that took just 2 hours and 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 and first since Wilson Alvarez threw one at Baltimore on Aug. 11, 1991.
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.
Buehrle, who retired 20 of the final 22 batters he faced in his previous start against Oakland, had some stellar defensive plays behind him before a crowd of 25,390 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Three of the closest plays came on grounders. Jerry Hairston hit one to Crede in the third inning and was called out at first after a headlong slide.
Replays showed Hairston was out, but he was ejected by first base umpire James Hoye for arguing.
Second baseman Tadahito Iguchi made a diving stop of Hank Blalock's grounder in the hole, got up, and threw him out to end the fifth. That came one batter after Sosa spoiled the perfect game bid by drawing the walk.
In the seventh, Chicago shortstop Juan Uribe went into the hole to get Ian Kinsler's grounder and got him at first, thanks to a nice scoop by Konerko.
"Obviously, for a guy like me, I need my defense behind me," Buehrle said.
The White Sox made it easier by breaking out of an offensive slump. Jim Thome homered twice -- giving him 477 for his career -- and Jermaine Dye hit a two-out grand slam in the fifth off Kevin Millwood (2-2).