With or without Manny Ramirez, the Tampa Bay Rays aren't hitting. This time, they were shut down by a 28-year-old journeyman making his third career start.
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 Rays 4-2 on Saturday in a game that got a little testy at the end.
Wade Davis tossed six solid innings for Tampa Bay, giving up two runs and five hits. But he was outdone by Humber, who allowed one run in six innings of his own.
"It's all about playing good baseball," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We didn't play poorly, but we're just not hitting. We've been kind of like this, one or two runs a game, and that's not easy to do."
One day after 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.
The Rays kept it close most of the way, but a two-out double by Pierzynski in the seventh gave the White Sox a 4-1 lead.
Tampa Bay's Felipe Lopez appeared to take 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.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I just said hi," said Pierzynski, who has often drawn the ire of opponents during his career. "He lives down the street from me in Orlando, so I was just asking him how his house was."
After the game, Lopez said the bat toss was unintentional.
"I didn't think they were throwing at me," Lopez said. "I didn't mean to throw the bat like that. It was unfortunate. I wasn't trying to do that."
Lopez was led away by Maddon as he made his way toward the dugout. Sale finished up for his first save of the season.
"Just an inside pitch," Maddon said. "He kind of got him going a little bit. I'm certain (Sale) was not throwing at him at all."
After a ninth-inning comeback Friday that led to their only win, the Rays again struggled at the plate and were unable to give Davis (0-2) much support. Davis improved from his first start of the season, when he gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a home loss to Baltimore.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," said Davis, who walked three and struck out four. "Just kept battling. Trying to keep the game where it was."
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' head.
"I should've had it," Davis said. "I took a glimpse to see if anyone was coming. I didn't want to have any collisions. I saw the ball. I had time to get there. I was thinking about the other guys coming in."
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.
"That was huge," Davis said. "I don't know how to explain that. I've never seen a catch that good in person."
After a leadoff walk to Dan Johnson in the second, Humber (1-0) gave up an RBI double to Ben Zobrist.
Morel opened the third with a double off the left-field wall and scored on Gordon Beckham's sacrifice fly.
NOTES: 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.