LIVE: White Sox regain 2-1 lead over Rays

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LIVE: White Sox regain 2-1 lead over Rays

Saturday, April 9, 2011
Posted: 10:24 a.m.

Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays never won a game with Manny Ramirez in the lineup.

They exceeded their run total from his entire tenure in their first game after he left the team.

After busting out on offense and breaking into the win column, the Rays try for another strong effort Saturday when they continue their four-game road series against the Chicago White Sox one day after Ramirez abruptly retired.

Ramirez, who served a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy in 2009, recently tested positive again for a performance-enhancing drug. Rather than serve a 100-game ban this time, the 38-year-old slugger opted to walk away from the game.

The Rays signed Ramirez in the offseason after an unremarkable 24-game stint with the White Sox at the end of 2010. A surefire Hall of Famer were it not for his drug violations and other character issues, Ramirez retires with 555 home runs - none with the Rays.

He managed one single and one RBI in 17 at-bats in a Tampa Bay uniform, with the Rays losing all five games in which he appeared.

"It's unfortunate," said Tampa Bay outfielder Johnny Damon, who helped Boston end an 86-year title drought by winning the 2004 World Series, in which Ramirez was the MVP.

"I don't know everything that's been brought up. All I know is he's a great teammate and a great player," Damon said, when asked specifically about the steroid allegations. "It's going to be sad not seeing Manny Ramirez ever around a baseball field."

The Rays' offense had been sad to watch, totaling eight runs and batting .145 during an 0-6 start. Hours after the shocking news about Ramirez, though, they rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to beat the White Sox 9-7.

All five runs off Chicago closer Matt Thornton were unearned due to errors by Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre. Tampa Bay (1-6) took advantage, with a three-run homer by Dan Johnson providing the decisive blow.

"No feeling like it. It makes everything better," Johnson said. "We were just talking about how the food tastes so much better. (Losing) leaves such a bad taste in your mouth. Everything seems better right now."

Damon added his first homer in a Rays uniform.

The White Sox (4-3), who got homers from Ramirez, Gordon Beckham and Mark Teahen, continue to engage in slugfests. They're averaging 7.4 runs per game while allowing more than six per contest.

Chicago will send a largely unproven quantity to the mound Saturday in Philip Humber (0-0, 9.00 ERA). Humber is making his first start for the White Sox, filling the fifth spot in the rotation when necessary while Jake Peavy rehabs a shoulder injury.

Humber has made two relief appearances this season, allowing two runs over two innings.

A 28-year-old journeyman who has previously pitched for the Mets, Twins and Royals, Humber has struggled in two career starts, yielding 10 runs and 15 hits over 9 2-3 innings. The right-hander's one appearance against the Rays came in relief, but it was the second-longest outing in his career.

Humber, then pitching for Minnesota, limited the Rays to two runs over 5 1-3 innings at Tampa Bay on Sept. 18, 2008, but didn't get a decision.

Tampa Bay will give the ball to Wade Davis (0-1, 5.68). The right-hander defeated the White Sox twice last season, limiting them to three runs over 12 1-3 innings.

Davis was less impressive in his season debut Sunday, allowing four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-1 home loss to Baltimore.

Davis may not have to face Adam Dunn. The Chicago slugger, who had hoped to return from an appendectomy performed Wednesday in time for this series, will likely need to rest at least through the weekend according to manager Ozzie Guillen.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

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USA TODAY

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

Adam Engel is making the most of his second opportunity with the White Sox.

Engel had his best game of the season in Thursday’s finale against the Minnesota Twins, where he went 4-for-5 with three singles, a double, and two RBIs in the White Sox 9-0 win. He became the first White Sox outfielder with a four-hit game within their first 11 career MLB games since Harold Baines (10th game) on April 20, 1980, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

"Some days you hit it, some days you don’t," Engel said. "Yesterday was the day that I hit it.”

After nearly a five-hour rain delay, the White Sox came out hot right from the get-go on Thursday. In fact, by the time Engel was ready to bat for the first time, the White Sox were already leading 4-0 and Twins starter Nik Turley had been yanked from the game.

“It was awesome,” Engel. “(The) team is winning, getting some hits. It’s a great feeling. Obviously the goal is to try and help the team win.”

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Engel made his major league debut on May 27 and then was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on June 9. His wife Jaime had a child on June 12, and almost a week later, he was recalled again by the White Sox to replace an injured Leury Garcia.

Engel, who's hitting .344/.382/.406 entering Friday's game, will look to keep his hot streak going with his wife and newborn in attendance.

Mark Buehrle relishing life after baseball, and his new softball position

Mark Buehrle relishing life after baseball, and his new softball position

Mark Buehrle was known for plenty of things in his 16-year career, whether it was winning 214 games, being a five-time All-Star, throwing a perfect game and a no-hitter, winning a World Series and throwing 200 or more innings in 14 consecutive seasons. 

Now, the 38-year-old is relishing life as a dad and husband. Oh, and as the first baseman and cleanup hitter for his beer league softball team. 

Hey, Buehrle’s probably the only one on the team to hit a home run in the major leagues, in addition to that whole other list of pitching accomplishments. But socking softball dingers hasn’t given Buehrle the itch to get back into baseball, at least not yet. 

“I honestly thought I'd miss it more, the first year at home sitting on the couch and watching games and thinking, 'Man, what am I doing? I probably should still be playing,’” Buehrle said. “But the little ones have kept me busy and the wife's honey do list is not getting any shorter. But no, I enjoy being home and running the kids around and doing all the stuff we're doing. I haven't really missed it at all.”

Buehrle led the American League in complete games in 2015 and finished that year with a 15-8 record and 3.81 ERA, though he fell 1 1/3 innings shy of making it 15 consecutive seasons with 200 or more innings pitched. But he was isolated in Toronto, with his family still in St. Louis, and knew that even though he probably had more left in the tank, he didn’t want to continue playing. 

So Buehrle didn’t have a retirement tour, reportedly turned down some one-year offers and bought an RV after the 2015 season. 

“I was sitting in my apartment too much saying, ‘I’m a family guy, I’m a dad. I’m not a single college student,’” Buehrle said. “That’s what I felt like. I knew I was done that whole year leading up to it. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. I wanted to go off in the sunset kind of quiet. I didn’t want all the attention.”

Someday, Buehrle expects he’ll want to get back into the game in some capacity. His kids are eight and nine (going on 10) years old, though, so it probably won’t be anytime soon. Unless you count getting back in the game as playing some beer league softball. 

“Right now we are so busy at home and enjoying that, I wouldn’t want to have to keep leaving again,” Buehrle said. “Eventually I would like to do something to stay involved.”