Humber has solid start, Zito hit hard
GLENDALE, Ariz.—With just over a week left in spring training, the Chicago White Sox have added another pitcher to their closer competition.
The newest candidate, left-hander Hector Santiago, threw a scoreless ninth inning and earned the save in a 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
Giants starter Barry Zito gave up consecutive homers to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios in the third inning and allowed five runs in 2 1-3 innings. White Sox starter Philip Humber gave up an unearned run and one hit in seven innings.
Two others competing for the closer job that became open when the White Sox traded Sergio Santos to Toronto also pitched. Matt Thornton allowed two hits and a run while getting the first out in the eighth. Addison Reed struck out one, allowed a hit and got the other two outs in the eighth.
Santiago, who throws a screwball, struck out one, walked one and threw a wild pitch.
"He's a possibility just because he throws strikes," manager Robin Ventura said. "He has all the stuff you like."
Santiago threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings with the White Sox last season in his only time in the majors.
"I would love to just pitch, any inning. It doesn't matter," said Santiago, whose ERA is 1.13. "Whatever they want me to do, I'm here for them."
Will Ohman, another in the mix, earned a two-inning save Saturday. Thornton was a 2010 All-Star as a setup reliever and has a 1.93 ERA this spring. Reed, the team's top prospect, has pitched 7 1-3 innings in the majors and has a 3.52 ERA this spring. Jesse Crain is also in the mix, but hasn't been pitching in games because of a right oblique strain.
In his final two starts of spring training, Zito will be working on keeping his pitches down. He gave up nine hits, struck out three and walked two in 2 1-3 innings.
"The ball was up in the zone," Zito said. "I've been harping on getting the ball down, throwing a downhill plane and today I was just rushing with my body. The arm couldn't catch up."
Zito threw another 25 pitches in the bullpen after leaving the game, to bring his pitch total to about 85. His ERA is 6.61.
"It's definitely something that requires attention," Zito said about his latest struggles.
Humber had a stronger outing, giving up the unearned run after a walk, a throwing error by shortstop Eduardo Escobar and a wild pitch in the first inning. Brandon Crawford hit a single off Humber in the second inning. Humber struck out five and walked two. His ERA is 2.25.
"He pitched great," Ventura said. "He came out and was locating. He got stretched out a little bit, which is good. We weren't really planning on him going that long, but he got an extra inning in there."
NOTES: The White Sox (10-12) finished with 14 hits to the Giants' 4. The Giants are 13-10. ... Giants reliever Scott Munter exited with a left calf strain after pitching to one batter in the third inning. He was injured while moving to cover first base on a grounder by Escobar. . For the White Sox, Paul Konerko went 3 for 3 and Escobar, a candidate for a bench role, went 3 for 4. Pierzynski hit his fourth home run, and Rios hit his first. . Crain (oblique) threw a bullpen Sunday and is expected to pitch in a game Tuesday. .The Kansas City Royals traded minor league outfielder Greg Golson to the White Sox for cash considerations.