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KC@CWS: Humber strikes out seven in quality start

The big league debut for every Minor Leaguer is a crystallizing moment. When that debut is for his hometown team, the moment is further magnified. That is the spot Cole De Vries will find himself in on Thursday night when he takes the mound for the Twins in their series finale against the White Sox.

De Vries, who hails from the Minneapolis area and pitched for the University of Minnesota, was signed by the Twins as an undrafted free agent in 2006. The 27-year-old right-hander has pitched through ups and downs this season with Triple-A Rochester, but following a 1-4 start with a 4.24 ERA, he is excited to take the mound at U.S. Cellular Field as the Twins look to end their 8-game road trip on a high note. Minnesota is 5-2 on the trip thus far.

"Surreal is probably the biggest understatement for it," De Vries said about getting the call up to the big league club.

"I'm just going to try to do what I do on a normal start routine. Just go through my workouts, my bullpen, playing catch. Just try to take it as much as I can like this is just a Triple-A game," De Vries added with a laugh.

De Vries, who will have a large group of friends and family in the crowd, was told prior to Monday's game that he would be making his big league debut, but had to quietly hold on to the news.

"I was sitting there all afternoon, all through the game sitting there almost bouncing off the walls. It was something else."

The right-hander's most recent outing was a win on May 19, in which he tossed eight innings, allowing four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and zero walks. The lack of walks has been one of De Vries' strengths. He has struck out 37 this season while issuing just seven walks in 46 2/3 innings.

De Vries' opponent, Phil Humber, has had his share of special moments in 2012, and is looking to continue some of that momentum. Though Humber has not registered a win since his perfect game on April 21st, the right-hander has rebounded from his worst start of the season on May 7.

Since allowing eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings on that date, Humber has surrendered just three earned runs on nine hits in his last 13 innings (2.07 ERA). On Thursday, Humber can pitch the White Sox, who are 8-13 at U.S. Cellular this season, to their first home series win since April 13-15 against the Tigers. The formula for Humber won't be very different than the approach he's used in his last two outings.

"It was good results-wise," Humber said of his May 18 outing against the Cubs. "I would say I didn't have great stuff out there. I just tried to make pitches when I needed to. AJ did a good job of calling the game, good job of mixing up my pitches. The good thing I did today was all my offspeed pitches, I was able to throw for strikes and get some early outs."

Twins: Mauer heating up in May
• Joe Mauer has used the Twins current road trip to turn his month around. After hitting just .205 (8-for-39) through the first 12 games of May, Mauer has posted a .394 average (13-for-33) with four RBIs and four doubles. Mauer is hitting .423 (11-for-26) on the current road trip, and has reached based 13 times in his last 18 plate appearances. His batting average has climbed from .270 to .296 on the trip. The Twins' backstop boasts a career .367 (73-for-199) average with seven home runs at U.S. Cellular Field.

White Sox: Konerko scorching during hit streak
• Paul Konerko extended his hitting streak to nine games on Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with a home run, matching a season high in the process. Konerko, who is hitting .567 (17-for-30) during the streak, also hit safely in nine straight games to begin the season.

• Adam Dunn's start to the 2012 season was a vast improvement over last season, and that trend has continued into May. The slugger is hitting .257 (19-for-74) with nine home runs, 17 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 22 games this month. To compare, Dunn hit just .204 with three home runs, 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored in May 2011.

Worth noting
• The Twins are hitting .307 (23-for-75) with runners in scoring position on their current road trip.

• The White Sox are 20-2 when leading after six innings. Comments