Worse yet, typical.
That's all that needs to be said as the White Sox dropped their fourth straight game, and have already painted themselves into a corner during a homestand they absolutely needed to win.
Moral victories aren't enough. We should feel better about Phil Humber's performance. Once again, Humber pitched better than Jake Peavy did last April, going seven strong innings. Sure, he made a couple mistakes -- he was late covering home on a run-scoring wild pitch (probably wouldn't have mattered), and Robert Andino took him deep when Humber mistook the inside corner for the outside.
He shook them off and posted a line any Sox starter would take: two runs on three hits and a walk over seven innings. After the Andino homer, Humber retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced. Unlike John Danks, Humber even pitched around a dropped third strike.
Alas, that was only the first dropped third strike of the game. The second one killed them.
Matt Thornton took the mound with the Sox trailing 2-1, and was greeted with an Andino broken-bat single. Andino stole second, but Thornton came back to strike out Brian Roberts on a low-and-inside slider.
One problem: It got by A.J. Pierzynski. For the third time in two games, Pierzynski was unable to block a pitch designed to go into the dirt for a swing and a miss. He compounded the problem with a poor throw to first. He didn't have an angle, and it took a bad hop that Adam Dunn couldn't scoop, and Andino, who headed to third on the passed ball, broke for home. Dunn's throw was late, and the Orioles had a 3-1 lead.
Thornton and the game unraveled from there. Another weak single. A walk. A ball that deflected off the glove of a drawn-in Mark Teahen. A sac fly. By the time Thornton retired the first out (or his second), Joey Cora had seen enough, and Thornton left the field to boos. Pierzynski lucked out by not having to take that walk alone.
Prior to that point, the Sox at least had the prospect of a chance - even though their scoring situations worked themselves out as painfully asc possible. Alex Rios grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in the fourth after the first two batters reached, and Pierzynski couldn't pick him up.
The vibes were such that when the Sox loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth, it felt like a minor miracle to score one. Buck Showalter called for lefty Mike Gonzalez to face Adam Dunn, and he got Dunn looking. Rios followed with a fly to center, but the wind blew it towards home plate and gave Adam Jones an excellent shot to get Alexei Ramirez at home.
Jones did his part. He made a great throw that beat Ramirez to the plate. Alas, inexperienced catcher Jake Fox couldn't handle the hop, and Ramirez slid under the tag to score a lucky run.
Pierzynski struck out looking to end the threat. Pierzynski went 1-for-4, but two potential rallies died on his watch. Plus, the aforementioned passed ball and throwing error, and three wild pitches, too.
Rios wasn't much better. He finally connected for his first homer of the year -- with nobody on in the ninth inning, with the Sox down by five.