Since his perfect game six weeks ago, Phil Humber has struggled to find the pitches and control that helped him throw the game of his life.
Humber couldn't get it done again Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. He delivered 37 pitches in the first inning, walked three, including one with the bases loaded. And then he gave up a pair of two-run homers to Colby Rasmus and David Cooper in the fifth, and the Blue Jays went on to a 9-5 victory.
"If you allow your struggles to make you stronger, they will," Humber said. "And I'm going to be really strong after all these struggles. Just got to keep fighting."
Humber (2-3) labored with his control from the outset and ended up throwing 101 pitches in five innings, giving up seven hits, five runs and four walks. He is 1-3 with a 7.38 ERA over eight starts since the perfect game April 21 in Seattle.
"Right now, I'm not really pulling my share of the rope," Humber said. "Hopefully here pretty soon I'm going to be right back where I need to be. ... It's just an inconsistent feel. I'll have it one inning and then not have it. Or one game and then not the next game."
Humber is also 0-6 in his last 13 starts at U.S. Cellular Field.
"He has to get better at jumping ahead and better control when he's got the count in his favor," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Just spot it better."
Rasmus was 5 for 5 Tuesday night and helped Ricky Romero win his seventh game.
"Tonight, they fell in for me, which is nice. I felt comfortable at the plate with what I was trying to do with my approach, and it worked out," Rasmus said after getting three singles and a double to go with his homer during the career-best five-hit night. The performance raised his average 20 points to .247.
Romero (7-1) pitched seven-plus innings, allowing six hits and five runs — three earned. He gave up an unearned run in the first, a two-run homer to A.J. Pierzynski in the seventh after Toronto had built a 7-1 lead, and then a solo shot to Adam Dunn in the eighth before he was replaced by Francisco Cordero.
"I felt great all game. Two mistake pitches to two pretty good hitters and they took advantage," Romero said. "Other than that, I thought I made good pitches all night."
Dunn said Romero, whom the White Sox don't see that often, is one of the best left-handers he's faced.
"We were talking about that on the bench. He's got three really good pitches and if he's throwing strikes like he was tonight, he's tough," Dunn said. "He's up there, he's good."
Chicago played without cleanup hitter and first baseman Paul Konerko, who was scratched from the lineup after having a procedure on his left wrist.
Ventura said Konerko had a chip in the wrist flushed out, adding it's a condition Konerko has had previously. Ventura said Konerko should be ready to play Wednesday.
Rasmus hit his seventh homer of the season following a leadoff double in the fifth by Brett Lawrie, who'd been moved to the leadoff spot for the first time this season. After a two-out single by Yunel Escobar, Cooper connected to make it 5-1.
Notes: Romero is now 3-0 in four career starts against the White Sox. ... White Sox LHP John Danks (left shoulder strain) will throw a side session Wednesday and expects to make a rehab start before being activated from the 15-day DL.