SEATTLE – Philip Humber was back to being just another fifth starter in a major-league rotation Sunday, one day after becoming the 21st pitcher in major-league history to throw a perfect game.
There was a “welcome to the club” text from former White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle and a phone call from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. A David Letterman Top Ten list taping in Oakland was in the works for Monday.
About half the team gathered at a sports bar on Saturday night to watch a UFC event and celebrate the bigger event of the day, Humber’s perfecto.
“I’m not really into [UFC], but it was good to be around the rest of the team because everyone was excited,” Humber said Sunday. “It wasn’t just me. It wasn’t like an individual thing. The whole team really was excited to be a part of it, so I definitely wanted to share that night and reminisce and talk about it because now there’s another game today.
“Today I just want to get back to work and get ready for my next start. Obviously, it’s a great moment, and I want to enjoy it, but as a team, we have a lot we want to accomplish, and I want to be a part of that through the course of the whole season.”
The Sox got back to work with a 7-4 victory to complete a three-game sweep, but not without a fourth inning that included a comedy of errors.
Left fielder Brent Lillibridge misjudged a fly ball that fell for a single, and starter John Danks made a pickoff attempt that first baseman Adam Dunn never saw.
“We had a pick play on, and we kind of left Dunner out,” said Danks, whose errant throw allowed Miguel Olivo to score from second and sent Casper Wells to third.
Wells scored on a grounder to second baseman Gordon Beckham, who made a questionable choice in trying for a force out at second. Beckham’s high throw didn’t cost a run, but it added to the fourth-inning folly nonetheless.
“That’s the nature of this team,” Danks said. “We have a lot of resilient guys. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.”
After getting staked to a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by Alexei Ramirez and an RBI single by Dunn, Danks – who had struck out four in the first two innings – gave up five hits and two walks his second time through the Mariners’ lineup and trailed 4-2 after the fourth.
But the Sox tightened things up defensively and muscled up offensively, chasing Kevin Millwood with Alex Rios’ two-run triple in the sixth and going ahead on Kosuke Fukudome’s sacrifice fly. Rios (single, double, triple, three RBI) and Fukudome padded the lead with RBI singles in the eighth.
The Sox were still buzzing a day after Humber’s feat, recalling how they watched with sweaty palms and accelerated heart rates as Humber, 29, pitched through the last two innings. Rookie Hector Santiago, who got his fourth save Sunday, said he put his hand to his chest to check his pounding heart.
At 9-6, a team picked to finish last by some in the American League Central has more than a pulse.
“You make a few mistakes, but the guys come in and put that on the side, pushed across a few more runs and got it to the back end of the bullpen,” manager Robin Ventura said. “We feel pretty confident when we get the ball to the bullpen.”
Addison Reed struck out all three batters he faced, and Matt Thornton – like Reed – remained unscored on before getting the ball to Santiago.
Danks (2-2) was far from perfect, walking four and giving up four runs in six innings.
“He grinds,” Ventura said. “That’s the kind of pitcher he is.”