Humber regains focus in strong start against Royals

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Humber regains focus in strong start against Royals

By Paul LaTour
CSNChicago.com contributor

Its not about being perfect for Philip Humber. Not anymore.

The White Sox right-hander just needed a quality start, considering his ERA was 13.50 in his three starts since throwing his perfect game April 21 at Seattle.

A quality start is just what Humber delivered Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field in the series-finale against the Kansas City Royals. If only the Sox could have capitalized on it.

Instead, the Sox bullpen faltered and their bats failed in a 9-1 loss.

Phil came out and pitched great, manager Robin Ventura said. On one hand, its a positive the way Phil threw. On the other hand, we let it get away from us.

The Royals put runners on base in the first five innings against Humber, but couldnt get the timely hit. They stranded two runners in each of the first and fifth innings.

Chris Getz hit a one-out single in the first, and moved to second on a two-out walk to Billy Butler. Jeff Francoeur grounded to third as Humber escaped the early threat.

In the fifth with two runners on, Humber got Chris Getz on a groundout and then struck out Alex Gordon to maintain a1-0 lead for Chicago.

It wasnt until the sixth Humber was able to retire the Royals in order, striking out Butler and Francoeur before Eric Hosmer grounded softly to Adam Dunn at first.

It was just me going out there and competing and having fun doing what I know how to do, Humber said. I wanted to give the team a chance to win. We had the opportunity there and we couldnt get it done today.

Humber pitched into the seventh, but left with two outs and a runner on first. That runner ended up scoring on Johnny Giavotelllas two-run double against Matt Thornton. The White Sox bullpen combined to surrender eight runs on six hits.

Humber finished with 101 pitches, throwing 67 for strikes. He gave up some long fly-ball outs, but didnt allow an extra-base hit. Yet, he still couldnt come up with his first home victory since since June 12, 2011.

I dont know if he was as sharp as you saw him either in spring training or obviously in Seattle, but he was able to find it, he gained control of it, spotted it and threw all his pitches, Ventura said.

The past three weeks have been eventful for Humber, who admitted the spotlight following the perfect game became distracting. Then on May 1 he became a father for the first time with the birth of his son.

If something like (the perfect game) ever happens again, Ill know better how to deal with it, he said. Its not just that, its having a new baby and stuff like that. There were a lot of different things that maybe try to take away from your focus. But this is our job. Youve got to come in ready to go every time. I just want to go out there and do my best.

Humber did that Sunday. Not many of this teammates followed his lead.

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

On his 24th birthday, Tim Anderson’s present from home plate umpire Jim Wolf was his first major-league ejection.

In the fifth inning of the White Sox 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, Anderson fouled off a pitch that landed in the opposing batter’s box. But A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell picked it up in what was ruled to be fair territory and threw the ball to first for the out.

Anderson pleaded his case saying the ball went foul. Wolf agreed, according to Anderson, which only further confused the White Sox shortstop.

“I told him that was BS,” Anderson said. “And he tossed me.”

Anderson said that he was surprised to be ejected so fast. So was manager Rick Renteria, who was thrown out moments after Anderson.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Renteria said. “The players having emotion, they are battling. I just think we need to grow a little thicker skin.”

Anderson said that he was appreciative of his manager coming to his defense.

“He kinda had a point and let me know he had my back,” Anderson said of Renteria. “Speaks a lot of him.”

A day after scoring nine runs on 18 hits, the White Sox failed to generate any offense on Friday. The team’s best chance came in the ninth inning.

But with runners at the corners and two outs, Matt Davidson put a good rip on the ball to center field, only to fly out at the warning track.

Anderson and Renteria were watching the game together in the clubhouse, and both believed the White Sox had tied the ballgame.

“We all jumped up and were excited but it kind of fell short,” Anderson said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

On the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien goes 1-on-1 with the star of the weekend, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle tells an absolutely amazing bachelor party story and discloses why he wore No. 56.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the White Sox Talk Podcast here