Philip Humber was coming off a perfect game when he was pounded by the Boston Red Sox earlier this season.
The Chicago White Sox right-hander will be coming off the disabled list Tuesday night as he tries to get his tumultuous 2012 back on track at Fenway Park against a Red Sox lineup that will likely be lacking David Ortiz .
Humber (3-4, 6.01 ERA) threw the 21st perfect game in major league history April 21 at Seattle - San Francisco's Matt Cain has since thrown the 22nd - but the rest of his season has been far more forgettable. He went 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA in 10 starts following his gem, then landed on the DL with an elbow flexor strain.
He hasn't pitched in the majors in a month, but he's feeling better after allowing one run and two hits while walking none in six innings in the last of his three minor league rehab starts Thursday for Double-A Birmingham.
"I feel like my arm is responding well to what we've been doing," Humber told the Barons' official website. "I feel like I'm in good shape."
Humber's dismal stretch began April 26, when he allowed a career-high nine runs in five innings of a 10-3 home loss to the Red Sox.
"I got a lot of pitches up over the plate," he said that night. "To a team like that, they make you pay for it."
Left-handed hitters are batting .282 with a .500 slugging percentage against Humber this year. The top four hitters in Boston's lineup Monday - Jacoby Ellsbury , Carl Crawford , Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez - are all lefties.
Ortiz, though, is likely out Tuesday after injuring his right Achilles on Gonzalez's three-run homer in the eighth inning of Boston's 5-1 series-opening win. The designated hitter leads the team in most offensive categories.
"He's a little upset and a little sore, but it doesn't look he pulled anything or tore anything," manager Bobby Valentine said. "It's probably going to be some days, though."
Youkilis was traded to the White Sox (49-40) on June 24, and Monday's series opener was his first game at Fenway as a visitor. He got a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat and went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles.
"It was a great ovation. It was just a cool thing from the fans," Youkilis said. "I can't thank them enough for all the support they've given me."
Boston still snapped a seven-game home skid to Chicago thanks to Gonzalez's tiebreaking homer. It was just the seventh of the season for the first baseman, who is batting .405 in his last 18 contests but struggling to hit for power.
The Red Sox (46-44) are hoping he and Jon Lester can make major improvements in the second half. When asked if the team can contend without better performances from Lester and Josh Beckett , Valentine said "no."
Lester (5-6, 4.49) has gotten an extended break since losing to the New York Yankees on July 8.
"I've got to keep grinding and working. I can't give up," Lester said. "I just have to go and relax and not think about my first half."
The left-hander is 2-4 with a 5.80 ERA in 10 starts at Fenway, but his only scoreless outing of the year came against the White Sox. He pitched seven innings in a 1-0 win April 28.
|Alejandro De Aza||4||.250||1||0||0||1||0||.400||.900||.500|
|Chicago White Sox|
|June 29, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Left game - upset stomach|
|June 25, 2012||Brian Bruney||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|June 24, 2012||Jesse Crain||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 17, 2012||Philip Humber||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 13, 2012||Adam Dunn||Day-to-Day||Sprained ankle|
|June 04, 2012||Kosuke Fukudome||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 14, 2012||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right forearm tightness|
|July 04, 2012||Dustin Pedroia||Day-to-Day||Jammed right thumb|
|July 04, 2012||Dustin Pedroia||15-Day DL||Jammed right thumb|
|July 03, 2012||Daisuke Matsuzaka||15-Day DL||Neck injury|
|June 20, 2012||Clay Buchholz||15-Day DL||Gastro-intestinal illness|
|June 20, 2012||Clay Buchholz||15-Day DL||Gastro-intestinal illness|
BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin Youkilis drove a full-count pitch over Fenway Park's famed left field wall, lowered his head and started to trot around the bases as fans loudly cheered "Yooouk!"
The scene was familiar everywhere in the ballpark except the scoreboard, where Youkilis' three-run shot was tallied for the visiting Chicago White Sox in a 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.
"You never know here, but it's been great," Youkilis said of his reception. "Fans have treated me unbelievable and I can't thank them enough for all the kind things they keep saying from the stands every day and every inning. Not too many opponents get to come in here and have that opportunity. Usually it's a little more negative at the opposition."
Youkilis isn't just another former Red Sox. He was one of the most popular players on the club for years before the June 24 trade and two games into the Sox-Sox series in Boston, he's still a fan favorite.
Youkilis had three hits the night before, but the Red Sox won the series opener 5-1. His eighth home run of the season was his only hit Tuesday and brought him up to 4 for 8 in the series with two doubles, a home run, three RBIs and four runs scored.
"Yeah, he's just showing off, just rising to the occasion for us and being in big spots," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think there's something when you get traded, there's something to prove and that all goes into it with a lot of people that's happened to. Coming back here, not that he says anything, but it's nice for him to get in those situations and come through."
The White Sox won for the eighth time in 11 games and are 10 games above .500 (50-40) for the fourth time this season.
Philip Humber (4-4) made his first start in a month and settled down after allowing two runs in a shaky first inning, when the Red Sox tagged him for three hits and two runs to tie it after Chicago went up 2-0 in the top of the first.
Humber had been on the disabled list as he recovered from a right elbow strain. Chicago activated him earlier Tuesday and he gave the White Sox six strong innings, scattering six hits, striking out three and not walking a batter before leaving the game after throwing 104 pitches.
"He comes back and was great. This was what we expect out of him in locating and keeping people off balance. That's a tough lineup. They create a lot of problems," Ventura said. "He was getting ahead early and then locating in key counts and not really giving them a whole lot to swing at."
Kelly Shoppach had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth for the Red Sox off Matt Thornton to pull Boston to 7-5, but closer Addison Reed came on in the ninth and picked up his 15th save.
Carl Crawford continued his strong start since joining the Red Sox on Monday after rehabilitating wrist and elbow injuries during the first half of the season. Crawford went 3 for 4, stole three bases and scored twice on Tuesday. In two games back, Crawford is 4 for 7 with four runs scored.
Jon Lester (6-6) had good velocity, but poor control from the start and threw 50 pitches in the first two innings. He threw 27 in the first when Youkilis walked and Adam Dunn , Paul Konerko and Alex Rios followed with hits to put the White Sox up 2-0.
Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez hit RBI singles to tie it in the bottom of the first, but Chicago went up in the second with a run, then Youkilis blew it open in the fourth.
"It was a frustrating night for Jon," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "After he gave up the two in the first and we came back, he thought he'd be able to settle down and get us the victory. His control just wasn't there."
With two on and two outs, Youkilis hit a towering shot to left to put the White Sox up 6-2 in the fourth. Boston fans cheered "Yooouk!" as he trotted around the bases, showing the former Red Sox third baseman will always be beloved in Boston. It was Youkilis' fourth homer since being traded from to Chicago, tying his total with the Red Sox in 42 games this season.
Lester allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings.
"When the ball's leaving my hand I'm not in the part of the zone that I need to be. I'm up a little bit," Lester said. "I don't know what it is. I've just got to keep throwing the ball. It'll turn."
NOTES: An MRI showed no tear in David Ortiz 's right Achilles tendon, but the Boston slugger will have it looked at again and Boston will decide after the second opinion comes in whether to put Ortiz on the disabled list. Ortiz injured the tendon while rounding second on Gonzalez's home run in the eighth on Monday. ... Boston pitching coach Bob McClure said Franklin Morales will move back to the bullpen after making five starts for the short-handed Red Sox. ... Youkilis hit 65 homers at Fenway as a member of the Red Sox. ... The White Sox placed RHP Gavin Floyd on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis, clearing the roster spot for Humber. ... Chicago didn't reach 50 wins until July 24 last season, when a victory over Detroit put the White Sox at 50-51.