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White Sox 5, Rangers 2: Humber, bench step up

Philip Humber was deserving of high-fives.
Philip Humber was deserving of high-fives.

With three regulars injured but not on the DL, the White Sox entered this game outmanned.

With Philip Humber's ERA twice as high as Matt Harrison's, the White Sox entered this game outarmed.

It mattered not. Humber outpitched Harrison, the still-intact middle of the order delivered, and the young guys provided reinforcements as the Sox rolled to their fifth straight win.

Harrison retired the Sox without a hit the first time through the order, but a favorable scoring call put the wheels in motion. Ian Kinsler botched Adam Dunn's grounder to shallow right. It looked like an error, and the official scorer gave the White Sox a pair of errors on a couple of non-routine plays, but it was called the game's first hit instead.

One pitch later, Paul Konerko turned on a fastball and crushed it just inside the left-field foul pole. Two pitches, two hits, and a two-run lead.

The less-accomplished players picked it up one inning later. Jordan Danks (starting for Alejandro De Aza, whose wrist was still hurting after the collision on Friday night) dropped a jam-shot single over Adrian Beltre's head, and then came around to score on a double by Eduardo Escobar (starting for Alexei Ramirez for the same reason). Escobar was thrown out at third on a tremendous relay and tag by Beltre, but the Sox didn't stop there. Kevin Youkilis drew a walk, and Adam Dunn followed with a sky-high homer just over the fence in center.

That gave the Sox a 5-0 lead, and that was plenty for Humber, who did a tremendous job of limiting the damage over his six innings. He pitched around an Escobar error in the first (great pick, errant throw), and a Youkilis error in the second (hot-shot grounder scooted under his glove).

After the Sox's three-run fifth, Humber flirted with letting the Rangers back in the game. Mike Napoli led off the bottom of the inning with a solo shot, and Leonys Martin snapped his 0-for-17 skid with a double. Martin moved to third on Craig Gentry's groundout, but that's where he stayed. Humber struck out Ian Kinsler with an up-and-in fastball, then got Elvis Andrus to bounce out to second on a curve to end the threat.

The biggest difference for Humber was simple -- he had three pitches instead of one. He lost the feel of his curve at times, but he was able to throw enough (good) strikes to play up his fastball.

He also had some help from his defense, in what might be the prettiest two-error game the Sox will play all year. Danks made a couple of nice running catches in center, the second much more difficult than the first, and Dayan Viciedo prevented a couple of inherited runners from scoring on Jesse Crain's watch by ending the inning with a diving catch on a blooper.

Crain deserved the good fortune, because he came in with runners on the corners and nobody out, and nobody scored. He struck out Martin and Gentry, and then won the battle with Kinsler to keep the lead at four. Crain needed 21 pitches for the three hitters, but his command was the sharpest since he returned.

Brett Myers pitched a perfect eighth, and Matt Thornton allowed a leadoff double to come around and score before he closed it out.

Bullet points:

  • The Rangers were 2-for-2 stealing bases, but only because Rob Drake missed a pretty clear call at third base in the first inning. Tyler Flowers made a good throw and Youkilis made a good tag a beat before Andrus' hand reached the bag, but Drake called him safe. That was another problem Humber pitched around.
  • The White Sox's lead is back to 2½ games after Detroit lost to Toronto.
  • After the game, the White Sox announced they traded Escobar and Pedro Hernandez to the Twins for Francisco Liriano. New post coming shortly.

Record: 55-45 | Box score | Play-by-play