White Sox 1, Cubs 0

Phil Humber had to make the Chicago White Sox’s roster in spring

training. Then he was expected to be a rotation fill-in while Jake

Peavy was on the disabled list. Now, he’s emerged as the team’s

best starter.

Humber pitched seven shutout innings Saturday and the White Sox

reached .500 for the first time since April 16, beating the Cubs

1-0.

Humber got some good defense behind him and needed it in a duel

with the Cubs’ Matt Garza, who gave up just four singles in a

complete game.

Garza held the White Sox hitless for 5 1-3 innings before Juan

Pierre hit an RBI single in the sixth.

”I’m very fortunate,” Humber said after his first career

appearance against the Cubs.

”I was behind in the count a lot and just was able to throw

something down in the zone when I needed an out. They made some

great plays,” he said.

”(Garza) was on his game. He’s got great stuff. We knew it was

going to be tough against him, but our guys battled and scratched

across a run.”

Humber (8-4) allowed five singles and is now 5-1 in his last six

starts.

”If Phil Humber isn’t on the All-Star team – and he deserves to

be on the All-Star team – then there shouldn’t be an All-Star game

because he’s been that good for us, stepping in for guys who have

been hurt and being the guy who’s pitched well for us from day

one,” White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.

Cubs manager Mike Quade was ejected in the second inning for

arguing a call at second on one of three double plays turned by the

White Sox in the first three innings. Quade was tossed by second

base umpire Paul Emmel after protesting that White Sox second

baseman Gordon Beckham didn’t touch the bag on a pivot before

relaying to first.

Matt Thornton pitched a perfect eighth and ninth for his third

save in seven chances.

”I wasn’t too happy. One of those things I was out of the

dugout when the play was developing,” Quade said. ”I don’t

manufacture stuff. To me I just thought he was way off the base.

That shouldn’t be given.”

The White Sox have now beaten the Cubs 15 times in their last 20

meetings and are 4-1 this season.

Beckham worked a walk leading off the sixth, moved up on

Humber’s sacrifice and made it to third on Garza’s wild pitch.

After a close 1-2 pitch was called a ball, Pierre slapped a single

to left over a drawn-in infield for the White Sox’s first hit and

the first run of the game.

”I thought it was inside, but I was definitely holding my

breath when he made the call,” Pierre said.

”I was mad,” Garza said of the pitch that wasn’t called a

strike. ”Big situation, a big moment right there. I wanted that

pitch. … I should have put Pierre away.”

Pierre said Garza was as tough as he’s ever seen him.

”I haven’t seen him that much, but his fastball was at 95-97

with three other pitches to go along with it. We scrapped, but it

just goes to show you how good Humber was for us today,” Pierre

said.

”He was just as effective, Thornton coming in and closing it

out. That’s been the key this last week here is the pitching and

bullpen just being lights out for us.”

Pierre, who’d been criticized for his uneven play this season,

came up with his third key hit in three games. He delivered a

tiebreaking single to spark an extra-inning win over Colorado on

Thursday and had a go-ahead two-run triple Friday in the White

Sox’s 6-4 victory.

”Opportunities have presented themselves and I’ve put a couple

good swings on balls. That’s about it,” Pierre said. ”About two

or three weeks ago I was leaving guys on and now I’m getting the

hits. … It’s a long season.”

The Cubs grounded into double plays in each of the first three

innings, spoiling any chance of an early offensive outburst against

Humber.

”We had pitches to hit and didn’t hit in some of those

situations,” Quade said.

They got the first two runners on in the first and second

innings only to be turned away. And then in the sixth, Darwin

Barney led off with an infield single off Humber’s glove and

Starlin Castro reached on a slow roller up the third baseline,

again putting two runners on and no outs.

Humber then retired Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena on pops,

threw a wild pitch to advance the runners and then retired Marlon

Byrd – who came off the disabled list before the game – on a

grounder.

Byrd returned to the lineup for the first time since he was hit

near the left eye by a pitch from Boston’s Alfredo Aceves on May

21, causing multiple facial fractures.

Byrd wore a protective flap over the left side of his batting

helmet.

”Whatever happens, happens. Can’t go out there with fear, not

in this game,” Byrd said. ”The game is too fast.”

He drew a four-pitch walk from Humber in his first at-bat in the

second, following a leadoff single from Pena, who foiled a

defensive shift with a bunt down the third base line. Byrd then

rolled hard into Beckham who still got off the throw to first after

Alfonso Soriano’s grounder to third. That brought Quade racing out

of the dugout to argue.

Castro hit into two double plays in the first three innings.

Notes: Game-time temperature was 93 and it dropped 15 degrees in

the first five innings with the wind blowing in. … Adam Dunn got

the start in right field in the NL Park. He went 0 for 4 with three

strikeouts and is now 2 for 33 with 19 strikeouts over his last 10

games, with his average plummeting to .168. It was his second game

in the outfield this season.