White Sox

Cubs, Campana knock Halladay off his game

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Cubs, Campana knock Halladay off his game

PHILADELPHIA This could have been what Philip Humber meant when he said he didnt know what his name was doing on this list.

Until Humber made baseball history last week with the White Sox, the last man to throw a perfect game was Roy Halladay, the machine who did it to the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010.

Some four months later, Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first postseason start (against the Cincinnati Reds). The Philadelphia Phillies ace has won the Cy Young Award in both leagues.

Halladay appeared to be in the zone on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, retiring the first 10 Cubs he faced. A sellout crowd in South Philly (45,261) might have wondered if history was unfolding.

Tony Campana, whos listed at 5-foot-8, made everyone take notice in the fourth inning. He was a blur sprinting down the line, getting underneath the tag and sliding headfirst into first base.

The Perfect Game Watch was over with that bunt single. The Cubs were putting a 5-1 victory in motion.

Campana stole second and scored the games first run when Starlin Castro singled to right-center field. The 25-year-old outfielder has brought a different dimension to this team since the Marlon Byrd trade, and will keep pushing until Brett Jacksons ready to play center.

After watching Campana run out two infield hits, score two runs and steal his fifth base in six games since his promotion from Triple-A Iowa, manager Dale Sveum committed to playing him 80 percent of the time.

Thats awesome, Campana said. That gives me a chance to kind of show what I can do and hopefully I can stay there for a long time.

Since 2005, the Cubs are now 5-1 in their six games against Halladay, who took the loss after giving up three runs in seven innings. Campana liked to think that he disrupted Halladays rhythm.

Definitely, Campana said. Hes usually one of those guys that likes to just get the ball and go and he had to slow down and really pay attention to me a little bit more.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for Paul Maholm, who began his start by giving up back-to-back singles before shutting down the Phillies (9-11) for six innings.

Maholms 100th and final pitch was drilled by Ty Wigginton for a home run in the seventh, but the left-hander still outdueled Halladay.

Hes a great pitcher and you know hes not going to give up a ton, Maholm said. You just got to make sure you make your pitches, get groundballs and do everything you can to make sure that we had a chance to come back in and get some things going.

It took a little while, but luckily I kept throwing up a couple zeroes and the defense was making plays.

You probably didnt see this coming from the Cubs (7-13). Maholm has won his past two starts after getting hammered in his first two. Campana has shown that he can be a game-changer. It turns out Halladay wasnt perfect.

I dont think you ever have any explanation about beating the best pitcher in baseball, Sveum said. It didnt look too good after those first three or four innings. It didnt look like we were going to do a whole heck of a lot off his fastball and his cutter. (But) we fought and scratched and did what we could to get the runs when we had to.

Marlins pitcher puts White Sox on Perfecto Watch on anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Marlins pitcher puts White Sox on Perfecto Watch on anniversary of Mark Buehrle's perfect game

Rick Renteria called it "eerie."

Ten years to the day after Mark Buehrle delivered one of the most memorable moments in White Sox history with a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, there was another Perfecto Watch on the South Side.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Caleb Smith didn't reach "call your neighbors" territory, but he retired the first 17 batters he faced in order, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning Tuesday night against the White Sox.

"I'll be honest, it was a little eerie for us," Renteria said after the 5-1 loss. "I kept thinking, I wasn't here 10 years ago for that. And he was working that, and I was like, 'Hey, (pitching coach Don Cooper), I don't like what I'm seeing here.'"

Smith was excellent, striking out nine of those first 17 hitters he put down in order. On a night when White Sox fans were celebrating the anniversary of Buehrle's feat, this was not the type of celebration they had in mind.

"You start to see," White Sox shortstop Ryan Goins said. "Anybody says they don’t feel it, he can say he doesn’t feel it but everybody knows the perfect game is going on. ... But he did a god job keeping us off-balance today."

The White Sox broke up the Perfecto Watch with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Adam Engel putting an end to Smith's stretch of five consecutive strikeouts with a walk. Leury Garcia followed that with a walk of his own, and Jon Jay put an end to the no-hit bid and the shutout with an RBI single.

Smith gave up a base hit to AJ Reed the following inning, but he finished his effort with one run and just four base runners allowed over seven innings. Smith's had himself a nice season for the last-place Marlins, his ERA down to 3.30 after Tuesday night's game.

The four base runners the White Sox got against Smith were the only ones they had on a silent night for the bats. A pair of Marlins relievers followed up Smith's work with two 1-2-3 innings. The White Sox struck out 10 times.

A decade later, Renteria might have been one of the few in the White Sox dugout putting the history together with what was happening on the field Tuesday night, but that didn't make Smith any less dominant on the anniversary of Buehrle's dominance.

"I don’t think we are thinking that far back," Goins said. "We are just trying to go up there and have good at-bats, honestly. He did a great job of not really leaving anything in the middle of the plate to hit, mixing his pitches up and throwing everything for a strike. And then throwing chase pitches when he needed to."

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Cubs Talk Podcast: A Whole Roster of Issues

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: A Whole Roster of Issues

Tony Andracki, David Kaplan, and Kelly Crull dive into everything going on with the Cubs at the moment, including Addison Russell's struggles and the team's other personnel issues (1:10), whether some trade targets are realistic for the Cubs to acquire (7:30), the ultimate role for Robel Garcia (11:15), how the Cubs will structure the bullpen with Pedro Strop's struggles (14:30), and what the roster could look like after the trade deadline (18:30).

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: