Phil Humber had a wonderful opportunity to show his former team what they were missing.
All the Minnesota Twins saw was a White Sox starter, and so they didn't miss him - or anything he threw. And so the White Sox dropped to 0-5 against their rivals on the season thanks to Humber's worst outing of the year.
Humber drew the ultimate distinction between control and command. He only walked one batter over 3 2/3 innings, and he started out 16 of the 22 batters he faced with first-pitch strikes. No, he broke himself with terrible pitches while ahead in the count, and the Twins bled him dry.
In fact, the Twins nearly scored all their runs when Humber was either ahead or even in the count.
First inning: Humber can't sneak an 0-1 fastball by Joe Mauer, who rips it past Humber (more on that later) for an RBI single.
Second inning: Tsuyoshi Nishioka gets a grooved 0-2 fastball and grounds a single past Humber to make it a 2-0 game. Ben Revere added an RBI single on a 1-1 curve.
Fourth inning: Nishioka reaches by singling on a 2-2 hanging slider after Humber got ahead 0-2. He moved to second on a fielder's choice, and scored on a first-pitch single by Ben Revere, jumping on a grab-a-strike fastball. It took until the sixth run -- Joe Mauer's RBI single on a 2-1 curve -- before anybody could say that the count hurt Humber. All his mistakes were entirely a matter of location.
Fittingly enough, Humber's night ended when Michael Cuddyer's hard grounder hit Humber directly in the foot for an infield single. The Twins hit six balls in Humber's direction, and his poor fielding position allowed five to go for hits. Throw in a bunt single and three stolen bases on Humber's watch, and he really didn't do much of anything right.
Neither did the offense. Carl Pavano started for Minnesota, meaning the White Sox were ready to make it easy for him. Juan Pierre led off with a single, but when Joe Mauer (playing first for the first time in his pro career) snagged Omar Vizquel's liner and stepped on the bag for the unassisted double play, it looked like a long night was in store.
When the Twins extended their lead to 3-0 in the top of the second, and the White Sox responded with a six-pitch 1-2-3 inning, appearances weren't deceiving. They scored their only two runs in the bottom of the fifth on a homer by Mark Teahen, but when Nishioka stopped Paul Konerko's potential RBI grounder to the hole and made the long throw to first, that pretty much took them out of the game.
Hector Santiago was the only reason to watch this game. Making his second career appearance, Santiago threw 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball. He allowed just one hit and one (intentional) walk, opting to throw strikes and let his defense work for him. Alexei Ramirez made a couple nice plays, one to each side, to help out the rookie.
*Out of the three runners to steal on A.J. Pierzynski, only one of them was his fault. Revere got a great jump on Humber in his first attempt, and Gordon Beckham dropped a throw that should've retired Nishioka. When Alexi Casilla stole second in the fourth inning, that was the only one that could pinned on the catcher, since the throw took Ramirez well towards the first base side. Pierzynski was able to get Revere on his second attempt.
*Konerko committed a pretty stupid error by getting cute after Mauer's RBI single. Thinking he could catch Mauer napping after cutting off the throw, he flipped it to Beckham at first. Two problems -- 1) Mauer was on the bag, and 2) Beckham wasn't ready for it. The throw rolled towards the sidewall, which allowed the final Minnesota run to score.