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Rays continue turnaround as White Sox drop 7th in row

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After a miserable start to the season, the Tampa Bay Rays have quickly recovered.

Wade Davis pitched seven solid innings, John Jaso homered and the Rays won for the eighth time in nine games to reach .500 with a 4-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay (9-9) became just the second team since 1900 -- joining the 1991 Seattle Mariners -- to reach .500 in April after starting the season with a six-game losing streak.

"The fact that we're back to that level is great, but our goal is well above .500," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That's how you get back to this point, grinding it out everyday. It speaks to the attitude of the group. You get to solvency and now you've just got to win series."

Davis (2-2) allowed one run and six hits. Jaso put the Rays ahead 2-0 on a two-run homer off Phil Humber (1-2) during the second.

Carlos Quentin homered for the White Sox, who have lost seven in a row. Chicago has been outscored 11-2 through three games of a four-game series against Tampa Bay.

"We had better at-bats," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's all you can do. Go and fight for your at-bats, and see what happens."

Guillen tweaked his lineup, dropping designated hitter Adam Dunn from third to fifth. Quentin moved up two spots to third. Dunn went 1 for 3, including a double.

Dunn, who missed six games after having an emergency appendectomy on April 6, entered with just two hits in 27 at-bats over his previous seven games.

"I know I will come out of it," Dunn said.

Humber gave up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"It's not easy when the guys go out and pitch and they don't have run support," Guillen said. "Humber continues to throw the ball well."

After Joel Peralta worked a perfect eighth, Kyle Farnsworth got the final three outs for his fourth save.

The White Sox loaded the bases -- including walks to Quentin and Dunn -- with two outs in the first, but failed to score when Alex Rios lined out deep to left.

"I was rushing a little bit in the first inning," Davis said. "I wasn't really hitting my spots. Had to slow everything down a little bit."

Davis got defensive help from right fielder Matt Joyce, who made a leaping catch at the wall on Juan Pierre's drive with two on and one out in the fifth. Gordon Beckman, mired in a 2 for 25 slide, then hit an infield pop fly to end the inning.

"They continue to play good defense," Guillen said.

Casey Kotchman made it 3-0 with a fourth-inning RBI double. Joyce had a run-scoring double in the fifth that extended the Rays' advantage to 4-0.

Quentin's sixth-inning homer pulled Chicago within 4-1.

Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski was ejected by plate umpire Brian Knight after grounding out to end the top of sixth. The pair had a discussion near the plate as Pierzynski was returning to the dugout.

Guillen said Pierzynski was unhappy about a call during the at-bat.

Game notes
Tampa Bay DH Johnny Damon was out of the lineup for third straight game with a left ring finger injury. Damon said there was soreness when he took batting practice, but that he plans to hit again on Thursday. ... Guillen is not sure when he'll give Rios (sore toe) a day off. Rios told Guillen that he doesn't need a rest. ... Rays 1B Dan Johnson (left wrist) was the DH after missing the previous two games.