ST. PETERSBURG—Philip Humber didn’t match the performance in his previous win. Nearly impossible to do that.After more than a month without a win, though, he was still pretty happy.Humber won for the first time since throwing a perfect game in April, and the White Sox extended their winning streak to seven games by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Tuesday night.Hideki Matsui homered in his Tampa Bay debut. The Rays purchased the 2009 World Series MVP’s contract from Triple-A Durham before the game.Humber (2-2) was 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA over six starts since his gem against Seattle on April 21. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings Tuesday.Ramirez had an RBI double during a five-run sixth against James Shields (6-3) as the Sox took a 6-2 lead. A.J. Pierzynski, Viciedo and Orlando Hudson hit run-scoring singles, while Alejandro De Aza drove in a run with a grounder.
“We were able to get to him one inning,” said Adam Dunn, who started the sixth by drawing a walk. “Other than that, he shut us down. I know that we were going to have to really grind it out against him. He’s one of the best in the game, and anytime you get a guy like that and something kind of goes wrong, you need to take advantage of it.”
Shields gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings.Matsui put the Rays ahead 2-0 on a long homer to right off a Humber fastball in the fourth. It was his first homer since Sept. 19 against Texas while with Oakland.Matsui, who turns 38 on June 12, started in left field. He played 13 games with Durham after signing a minor league contract with Tampa Bay on April 30.
The White Sox got to 2-1 in the fifth when Viciedo singled, went to third when Shields was charged with an error for an errant pickoff attempt and scored on Ramirez’s single.Viciedo hit a solo shot in the eighth. The White Sox have homered in 15 consecutive games.
“We just weren’t at the top of our game,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Paul Konerko went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts, to stop his 14-game hitting streak.
NOTES—Matsui got a nice ovation, with a few fans giving him a standing ovation, before his first at-bat. He finished 1 for 4…..Viciedo has driven in 12 runs in his last six games…..Maddon said 3B Evan Longoria (partial tear left hamstring) continues improving, but is at least a few weeks away from being ready for a minor league rehab assignment….Pierzynski has 12 RBIs over his last 12 games…..With the addition of Matsui, Tampa Bay DH Luke Scott could get some playing time at first base.