Phil Humber has been on more teams than he has victories.
His most impressive outing came against the ballclub that first recognized he had the talent to do something special.
Humber held the Yankees hitless until Alex Rodriguez grounded a single up the middle with one out in the seventh inning Monday night and the Chicago White Sox made the effort stand up with a 2-0 victory over New York.
”When I was young I had big dreams. I thought I was going to go out there and dominate every time,” Humber said. ”It hasn’t worked out that way to this point.”
Humber was making the sixth start of his career for his fifth team and had a career record of 3-3. Orginally drafted by the Yankees in 2001 – he turned them down to go to Rice – Humber never expected this kind of success against the All-Star lineup.
”You don’t expect to hold an offense like that down especially just giving up one hit but you got to make pitches and not worry about who’s up there at the plate,” he said.
The White Sox won for only the second time in 12 games. Chicago snapped a 23-inning scoreless drought in the fourth when Carlos Quentin doubled and scored on Adam Dunn’s grounder, and added a run in the ninth after a popup fell behind the mound, in front of charging shortstop Derek Jeter.
Sergio Santos got the four outs for his first save and Chicago’s second save in eight chances this season. He gave the White Sox a scare, though, allowing a leadoff single to Curtis Granderson. But Mark Teixeira hit into a double play. Rodriguez struck out to end the three-hitter.
”We needed that,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said about his bullpen. ”Our bullpen’s been better over the past five or six days.”
Chicago was coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of Detroit. Guillen said some of the White Sox’s problems could be attributed to the quality of pitching they were facing.
Humber (2-2) was up to the challenge against A.J. Burnett (3-1).
A waiver claim this winter from the Oakland Athletics, the former No. 3 pick overall by the New York Mets in 2004 had never gone beyond six innings in the majors.
Humber started the seventh off with his sixth straight groundball out before walking Teixeira. A-Rod then hit a sharp grounder for the first hit, eliciting a cheer usually reserved for one of his home runs.
”Against a lineup like that, which is scary, and in this ballpark, he commanded the ball really well,” Guillen said.
White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez and catcher A.J. Pierzynski immediately went to the mound to calm Humber after the hit, and the right-hander responded by striking out Robinson Cano.
Nick Swisher grounded out to first on Humber’s 100th pitch, one off his career high. Humber walked two and struck out five.
Humber was originally drafted by the Yankees in 2001, but did not sign. He was probably best known in his big league career for being traded by the Mets to Minnesota in a package for Johan Santana in 2008.
”Phil’s got great stuff and he can do it, ”Pierzynski said. ”He’s just got to throw strikes and believe in himself.”
Reliever Chris Sale got two outs in the Yankees eighth before Santos was called upon when Andruw Jones was announced as a pinch hitter. Manager Joe Girardi went to left-hander Eric Chavez, who grounded a single down the right field line.
Burnett, a fellow Mets draftee, had his best outing of the season. Pitching eight innings for the first time since Aug. 15, he gave up three hits and walked two.
The hard-luck loss was his first defeat in 15 April starts with the Yankees. He had been 8-0 with New York in April.
”You come across guys who are on,” Burnett said. ”He threw a heck of a game and didn’t miss many spots. You just have to do the best you can.”
Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano, unavailable Sunday because of tightness in his back, gave up a run in the ninth. The inning started when Ramirez hit a high pop that dropped untouched behind the mound. Paul Konerko singled home an insurance run.
”It was just one of those in-betweeners,” Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. ”It sort of landed in a dead zone.”
With one out in the fifth, Humber hit Swisher with a pitch, then Jorge Posada grounded into a 3-6-3 double play.
NOTES: Burnett was drafted by the Mets in the eighth round in 1995. … The last time the Yankees were shut out during the regular season at home was Aug. 20 against Seattle. The were shut out by the Rangers 8-0 in the ALCS on Oct. 18. … Quentin’s double in the fourth was his 12th this month, extending his White Sox record for doubles in April. … Dunn snapped an 0-for-13 skid, Alex Rios end an 0-for-22 slump with a single in the seventh.