MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Swarzak and Philip Humber got to know each other when the two right-handers played together in Minnesota’s farm system.
And just as Humber has became a mainstay in the Chicago White Sox rotation this year, Swarzak is hoping a strong September will make him a contender for the Twins’ staff in 2012.
Swarzak (3-6) took a step in that direction Monday, throwing eight strong innings in the Twins’ 2-1 loss to the White Sox in the first game of a day-night double header. The 25-year-old gave up two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Humber, meanwhile, held the Twins scoreless for seven innings to send Minnesota to its third-straight loss, and seventh in the last 10 games.
“I got to know Humber a little bit working when were playing together in (Triple-A) Rochester,” Swarzak said. “Really good guy, he works his butt off. It’s showing, he’s having a great year.”
Humber (9-8) was making his first start since Aug. 18 when he was struck above the right eye by a line drive off the bat of Kosuke Fukudome. He gave up six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter.
“He’s made some adjustments that he’s had to make,” Swarzak said of Humber. “I’ve made some adjustments as well, and now its showing. He’s putting together a pretty good year. Hopefully he finishes strong for himself and for his family.”
Swarzak will get five or six more chances to make his own case with the Twins this year with Nick Blackburn done for the season, Francisco Liriano on the disabled list with a shoulder strain and Brian Duensing day-to-day with a right oblique strain.
Minnesota’s best threat against Humber came in the seventh when Danny Valencia led off with an infield single and moved to second two batters later on a bunt single by Luke Hughes. But Rene Rivera hit into an around-the-horn double-play to end the inning.
“Well-pitched game on both sides, Humber and Swarzy both threw the ball very very well,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Heck of an effort, had a chance to win, we just couldn’t come up with a hit.”
The lone offensive highlight for Minnesota was Brian Dinkelman, who had a career-high three hits for the Twins. Luke Hughes had a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
“So nice to see the kid come back up here,” Gardenhire said of Dinkelman. “He’s worked really really hard. He’s one of those guys that you root for and he had a good day today offensively.”
Dinkelman, recalled from Triple-A Rochester Sunday, started at second base. He’s been playing more outfield recently but he said infield is his natural position.
NOTES: Minnesota has lost 16 of 19 at home. … Twins reliever Glen Perkins, out since Wednesday with an injured forearm was unavailable to pitch. … Chicago’s Zach Stewart (1-3) is scheduled to face Minnesota’s Scott Diamond (1-2) in the nightcap. Stewart is 0-1 with a 10.97 ERA in his last two starts. Diamond earned his first big-league win Wednesday by beating Chicago.
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