Mark Buehrle Leads a Banner Day for the Chicago White Sox

Joe SlowikCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  American League All-Star Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Things couldn't have gone much better for the White Sox this afternoon. Not only did their win push them into a tie for first place with the Tigers, but Mark Buehrle made some history.

In defeating the Rays 5-0, Buehrle pitched the 18th perfect game in baseball history. This is the second time he has faced the minimum number of batters, the other being his no-hitter in 2007 where he picked off Sammy Sosa after a walk.

He's now 11-3 on the season with a 3.28 ERA, continuing his strong season.

Buehrle wasn't the only one providing highlights. Josh Fields hit a two-out grand slam in the second inning, and Dwayne Wise made a brilliant catch to preserve the perfect game in the 9th inning.

After winning three of four against a strong Rays team, the Sox have built some momentum entering a big series against Detroit this weekend. With the Tigers struggling, the Sox have the potential to take sole possession of first place despite being in the middle of a difficult stretch of their schedule.

The Sox appear to be in great shape for the rest of the season. Their offense had been their biggest concern, but they've been clicking in July and have the potential to stay strong with the return of Carlos Quentin. Pitching hasn't been quite as strong of late, but their staff is still strong relative to the rest of the league.

On paper, the Sox should be considered the favorite to win the division in my opinion.

However, the schedule gets harder the rest of the season, so they can't afford much of a drop-off in play. They still have 15 games left against Boston and New York, as well as six games in the dreaded Metrodome.

The rest of the season should be exciting for the Sox as they fight for another AL Central championship.