ST. PETERSBURG - Adam Dunn turned Monday's game around and sent the Rays down the path to a loss with one mighty swing of the bat. He did the same thing Tuesday without taking the bat off his shoulder.
"Adam Dunn, if I don't walk him right there it's a whole different ballgame," Rays pitcher James Shields said.
But Shields did walk the Chicago White Sox designated hitter to start the sixth inning and it became a different game.
The White Sox peppered Shields with four singles and a double. And when the dust settled at Tropicana Field, the White Sox were more than on their way to a 7-2 victory in front of 13,735.
It was the second straight loss for the Rays, who missed another chance to claim first place for themselves in the American League East because the Orioles lost again.
The White Sox, winners of 11 of their past 12 games, moved past the Indians and into first place in the AL Central.
Philip Humber, who hadn't won since throwing a perfect game April 21, allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings.
Those runs came on a two-run homer by Hideki Matsui, who reached the seats in right in his second at-bat as a Ray.
"It was nice to hit the home run," Matsui said through interpreter Roger Kahlon. "We lost the game, but from a personal standpoint, it was nice to be able to get that first home run in that moment."
Matsui was promoted from Triple-A Durham to add some punch, experience and depth to the lineup. He started in left field and received a loud ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat. His home run was the only cause of the celebration for those inside the Trop not rooting for the White Sox until Cesar Ramos recorded the 10th strikeout by a Rays pitcher, a feat that earned everyone a free pizza.
The Rays seemed to be rolling toward a victory, and to sole possession of first place until Dunn drew a five-pitch walk to start the sixth inning.
Shields had allowed an unearned run until that point and was pitching with a one-run lead.
"I felt I had them on the ropes there for five innings," Shields said. "That last inning they made an adjustment,"
Shields struck out Paul Konerko for the first out, then allowed consecutive singles to Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Dayan Viciedo.
Pierzynski and Viciedo drove in runs on what Shields said were good pitches on his part.
"I made a good pitch to Pierzynski. He went out and got it," Shields said.
Same with Viciedo, but his grounder to the left side skipped through a drawn in infield and made it a 3-2 game.
Alexei Ramirez followed with a double to left-center field, scoring two more runs.
"I was making my pitches. If I throw those pitches again they're going to get out," Shields said.
The White Sox scored five times in the inning without delivering what could be considered as a knockout blow.
"They swarmed on us a little bit," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They hit some balls in the right spot."
It was a frustrating inning for Shields, who lost for only the second time in 13 starts at the Trop. Batters were hitting .171 off him with runners on base this season. The Sox were 6-for-8 with runners on base in the sixth inning.
"I made my pitches, bottom line. It just didn't go my way," Shields said. "They made adjustments, bottom line. They're good hitters over there. You got to give them credit, but I'm not going to change my approach. It's frustrating, but you have to move on from it. I'm definitely going to go back and look at the film and see what kind of adjustments they made."
Tampa Bay Rays