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Philip Humber struggles as White Sox fall to Blue Jays

Philip Humber gets ball back after giving up one three walks first inning. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)

Philip Humber gets the ball back after giving up one of three walks in the first inning. (Tom Cruze/Sun-Times)

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Updated: July 7, 2012 8:51AM



Every starter can’t be as good as Chris Sale. And no one is perfect, although Philip Humber was once.

The White Sox don’t need anything like the perfect game Humber pitched April 21 in Seattle, but they would settle for a run of decent games from their fifth starter, who was anything but in a 9-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 23,107 on Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

It was the Sox’ third defeat in the last 17 games, so they’re not panicking at the one-third point of the season. But there’s no doubt that after Jake Peavy and Sale, the Sox’ rotation is becoming the team’s
No. 1 question mark.

Opening Day starter John Danks (5.70 ERA) is on the disabled list, Gavin Floyd has a 5.32 ERA and Humber is at 5.68.

Manager Robin Ventura said Humber and Floyd will work through their problems in the rotation. Moving one to the bullpen to find his way while keeping rookie left-hander Jose Quintana (1-0, 1.69) in the rotation isn’t an option unless the Sox send a reliever such as Zach Stewart to the minors. Despite giving up four runs in 22/3 innings, Stewart (4.87) probably doesn’t deserve a demotion.

“Not right now,’’ Ventura said when asked if the pen would make sense for Humber or Floyd. “I think they just need to get through it. They have the stuff.

“They’re going to work through it. [Humber] just has to get better. He has to get better at jumping ahead and better control ... just spot it better.’’

A.J. Pierzynski hit his 10th homer, and Adam Dunn, who is 3-for-29 with three homers in his last eight games, hit his 18th against tough lefty Ricky Romero (7-1) to tie Larry Walker for 59th place on the all-time list with 383.

“It’s one of those things, I go in and out of little funks here and there,’’ Dunn said. “I’m feeling good, so hopefully that was something to kick it in the butt and let’s get it going again.’’

After the day off Monday, the Sox at times looked in need of a kick in the butt. They were out-hit 13-7 and ran into two outs at third base. Pierzynski tried to advance on a roller to shortstop, and Alex Rios made the third out of the eighth inning trying to steal on a pitch in the dirt.

It didn’t help that Paul Konerko didn’t play after having a small chip flushed in his left wrist before the game. Konerko, who had the same procedure done in early June last season, is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday.

Humber had little command of the strike zone and was roughed up for five runs in five innings, allowing two-run homers to Colby Rasmus (five hits, four runs — both career highs) and David Cooper in the fifth to put the Sox in a 5-1 hole. Humber was coming off a strong start against the Tampa Bay Rays, his first victory since his perfect game, but he walked three in the first inning.

“It’s just an inconsistent feel,’’ Humber said. “I’ll have it one inning and then not have it. Or one game and then not the next game. It’s weird to say this after a night like this, but A.J. said the same thing. That was the best pen I’ve had before a game, which doesn’t mean a whole lot. I felt like I was close where I need to be tonight. You just got to keep fighting. It’ll come.’’



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