CHICAGO – A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run double and Phil Humber pitched a career-high six innings to lead the Chicago White Sox over the sputtering Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Saturday in a game that got a little testy at the end.
Felipe Lopez took exception to an inside pitch from Chris Sale in the ninth inning, then flipped his bat in the lanky left-hander's direction after hitting a solo home run. When Lopez crossed home plate, he and Pierzynski went nose-to-nose and jawed at each other for a couple of seconds, but there was no pushing or shoving.
Lopez was led away by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon as he made his way toward the dugout. Sale finished up for his first save of the season.
One day after Manny Ramirez abruptly retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second violation of baseball's drug policy, the Rays dropped to 1-7.
After blowing a three-run lead in the ninth on Friday night in Tampa Bay's only win of the season, the White Sox got an all-around solid pitching performance led by Humber.
In his third career start and first for Chicago, Humber (1-0) allowed one run and four hits. He struck out four and walked two. The 28-year-old journeyman had previously pitched for the Mets, Twins and Royals before being claimed by the White Sox off waivers from Oakland on Jan. 18.
Humber is filling the fifth spot in the rotation for Chicago while Jake Peavy rehabs a shoulder injury. Humber made two relief appearances this season, allowing two runs over two innings.
Will Ohman and Sergio Santos each pitched a scoreless inning of relief before Sale closed it out against Tampa Bay's struggling lineup.
Rays starter Wade Davis (0-2) improved from his first start of the season, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. In his previous outing, Davis gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-1 home loss to Baltimore.
With the score tied at 1, Paul Konerko led off the fourth with a double. After Carlos Quentin struck out, Pierzynski walked and Mark Teahen drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Brent Morel gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead when he blooped a broken-bat infield single over Davis.
Davis didn't initially find the ball off Morel's bat and by the time he did it landed out of reach on the infield grass, allowing Konerko to score. The damage could've been a lot worse, but Davis got help from right fielder Sam Fuld, who made a spectacular diving catch on the warning track to rob Juan Pierre of at least three RBIs.
The White Sox added on to their lead in the seventh. With the bases loaded and two outs, Pierzynski tagged reliever Jake McGee with a double over Fuld's head in right to score two more runs.
After a leadoff walk to Dan Johnson in the second, Humber gave up a double to Ben Zobrist. Johnson, who was running on the pitch, easily scored from first.
Morel opened the third with a double off the left-field wall and scored on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly.
NOTES: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said there is no timetable on a return for DH Adam Dunn, who is recovering from an appendectomy. Dunn said Friday was the worst he's felt since having the appendectomy, but on Saturday he felt better and was able to take a few swings in the cage at less than 100 percent. ... Maddon said he's turned the page on Ramirez's retirement. "The Manny thing, I honestly don't see a big angle on that at all. Quite frankly, if you did not ask me that question I would've never thought about it," he said. ... Rays LF Johnny Damon tied Ramirez and Richie Ashburn (2,574) for 72nd place on the career hits list with a single in the third. ... Konerko's double in the fourth moved him past Nellie Fox into third place on the White Sox career list with 336.