Updated 06/26/11 – 6:11 p.m.
CHICAGO (AP) — Phil Humber isn’t used to losing in a White Sox uniform.
Even when he does, he pitches like an ace.
Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to lift Livan Hernandez and the Washington Nationals to a 2-1 victory over White Sox on Sunday.
“I can’t believe Ozzie used Jake Peavy two games in a row,” Nationals interim manager John McLaren cracked, referring to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen’s decision to bring Peavy in for a surprise relief appearance Saturday.
“Humber looked like Peavy out there, he was magnificent.”
Humber (7-4) carried a no-hit bid into the sixth, but a two-out walk in the seventh was followed by Espinosa’s 14th home run of the year, handing Humber his first loss since April 30.
“When you get beat on one swing, you wish you would’ve done something different. … Either a different pitch or a different location. But that’s going to happen,” Humber said. “As far as I’m concerned, the bigger mistake was probably pitching too carefully to Morse ahead of him.”
Hernandez (5-8) struck out a season-high nine as he baffled the White Sox for 6 2-3 innings, allowing one run and eight hits to earn his first road victory of the year. His off-speed pitches touched 60 mph and his fastball sometimes reached the mid-80s.
“I don’t know if Hernandez puts you to sleep,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “It takes a lot of stones to go out there with that stuff and get you out.”
Paul Konerko hit an RBI single in the third.
Humber didn’t allow a baserunner until he hit Roger Bernadina with a pitch leading off the fourth. After Jayson Werth was called out on strikes, Ryan Zimmerman bounced into an inning-ending double-play.
Jerry Hairston Jr. broke up Humber’s no-hit bid leading off the sixth with a line-drive single into center field. He advanced to third on a pair of groundouts, but was stranded there when Werth grounded out.
“I didn’t feel like I had much command. I was kind of spraying the ball a little bit today,” Humber said. “I think that’s probably why I was kind of getting some funny swings and some swings and misses. It wasn’t that I was real sharp. I was just kind of erratic. Fortunately I wasn’t leaving too much in the middle of the plate.”
Following a walk to Morse in the seventh, Espinosa launched a shot into the right-field seats off Humber to give Washington a 2-1 edge.
Humber worked 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and three hits. He had won four straight starts and was 5-0 over his last seven outings. Humber worked into the seventh inning for the 10th time in 11 starts.
Hernandez came into the game 0-6 on the road this season with a 5.66 ERA.
He left with two outs in the seventh and a runner aboard in favor of Tyler Clippard, who watched Paul Konerko’s go-ahead home run bid get knocked down by the wind on the warning track in left-center.
Drew Storen worked a perfect ninth to earn his 19th save in 22 chances and send Chicago to its first interleague series loss since June 2008, when the White Sox were swept by the Cubs. The White Sox had won 17 consecutive interleague series.
The White Sox broke got their run in the third on Konerko’s RBI single. Omar Vizquel slapped a base hit to left field with one out and Carlos Quentin hit a ground-rule double over Bernadina’s head in center to set the table for Konerko, who has driven in 23 runs in his last 24 games.
Adam Dunn struck out with runners on second and third to end the first inning and stranded another pair with a strikeout in the third as he continued to be showered with boos by his home crowd. Dunn whiffed four times on the day and has 100 strikeouts this season.
The White Sox stranded nine and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Hours after the Nationals hired Davey Johnson as manager, they won their final game with McLaren at the helm. The move came three days after Jim Riggleman stunned the team by resigning.
The 68-year-old Johnson, a senior adviser for Washington, will take over Monday against the Los Angeles Angels and then manage the rest of the season. It’s his first major league managing job since 2000 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
McLaren, who went 2-1 in three games as interim manager, will remain with the team. He will be reassigned as a scout, though his exact role has not yet been defined.
NOTES: The White Sox placed LHP John Danks (strained right oblique) on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of LHP Hector Santiago from Double-A Birmingham. … Johnson was scheduled to fly into Chicago on Sunday to travel with the team to Los Angeles. … Werth went 0 for 4 and gave his bat to a fan in the stands after his second strikeout in the eighth.
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