Kevin Youkilis may find the Chicago White Sox's season-long problems at home a bit surprising.
The third baseman had an outstanding first series at U.S. Cellular Field with the White Sox, who will be in search of a sixth straight home victory in Friday night's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The White Sox (45-37) have moved over .500 at home at 22-21 for the first time since their first series. This six-game homestand began with Youkilis shining in his first games in Chicago with his new team.
Youkilis, acquired June 24 from Boston, went 6 for 13 with two homers and six RBIs in a three-game sweep of Texas. He capped the series with a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning off 11-game winner Matt Harrison in Thursday's 2-1 victory.
Youkilis had three homers in 20 games at U.S. Cellular Field with the Red Sox.
"I haven't gotten too good of a feel for it yet," Youkilis said about his new home park. "Hopefully the ball keeps jumping. We got guys with a lot of power, so hopefully it plays into that."
Getting some offense would be a welcome change for starter Jake Peavy (6-5, 2.96 ERA), who has lost four starts in a row for the first time in his career. Peavy has posted a 2.70 ERA in that span with two complete games, but Chicago has totaled two runs.
He went winless in six June outings.
"I'm just tired of losing," Peavy told the White Sox's official website. "My fifth day has been a rough one here the last month or so."
The veteran right-hander struck out a season-high 11 as he went the distance in a 4-0 road loss to the Yankees on Saturday. He yielded three homers, marking the third time he has given up at least that many in a start over his last seven seasons.
Peavy is 1-0 with a 5.03 ERA in three career starts against Toronto (42-41). No current Blue Jays hitter has homered off him, and he has limited Jose Bautista to a single in 12 at-bats.
Toronto took two of three at Chicago from June 5-7, with Colby Rasmus going 7 for 14 with four RBIs to lead the way. The Blue Jays batted .312 and limited the White Sox to a .186 average.
Chicago's Alexei Ramirez went 0 for 11 in that series, but he was 6 for 13 with four RBIs this week against the Rangers.
Bautista leads the majors with 27 homers and White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is third with 25. The Blue Jays' 56 road homers match the Yankees for baseball's highest total.
Chicago is 9-13 against left-handed starters as it faces Aaron Laffey (0-0, 2.14), who is making his third major league start of the year. He has turned in six-inning stints in the first two, allowing three runs Sunday in a 10-6 home defeat to the Angels.
Laffey earned his first big league win at U.S. Cellular Field in 2007 while pitching for Cleveland. He has a 3.02 ERA against the White Sox in 14 appearances - five starts.
|Alejandro De Aza||1||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 16, 2012||Drew Hutchison||60-Day DL||Right UCL sprain|
|June 14, 2012||Kyle Drabek||15-Day DL||Sprained right elbow ligament|
|June 14, 2012||Kyle Drabek||60-Day DL||Torn right elbow ligament|
|June 13, 2012||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 12, 2012||Brandon Morrow||Day-to-Day||Strained left oblique|
|June 07, 2012||Rajai Davis||Day-to-Day||Jammed left middle finger|
|Chicago White Sox|
|June 29, 2012||Brian Bruney||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|June 29, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Left game - upset stomach|
|June 24, 2012||Jesse Crain||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 17, 2012||Philip Humber||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 13, 2012||Adam Dunn||Day-to-Day||Sprained ankle|
|June 04, 2012||Kosuke Fukudome||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Jake Peavy found two things he had really been missing - run support and a victory - and helped the first-place White Sox improve to a season-best nine games over .500.
Peavy ended a personal four-game losing streak and earned his first win since May 26 by pitching one-run ball into the eighth as Chicago beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Friday night.
"It's a whole different feeling, I promise you that," Peavy said. "When you get a lead in a ballgame as a starting pitcher, it changes the whole way you go about things. I know it shouldn't. ... You know you have room to wiggle a little bit. You are more aggressive and it's just nice."
Peavy (7-5) was 0-4 in his previous four starts - throwing two complete games - when Chicago scored only two total runs during those losses.
The White Sox got three runs in the fifth Friday night with the help of two Toronto errors and A.J. Pierzynski hit his 16th homer in the sixth as Chicago won its fourth straight.
"He could have nine, 10, 11 wins right now if we could've scored some runs for him," Pierzynski said. "But it just seems like every time he pitches, we haven't been able to get a hit or drive a guy in or whatever it is. Tonight, we didn't do a great job of it, but we got enough hits and scored enough runs because he pitched well enough to get the win."
Peavy allowed five hits in 7 1/3 innings, walked two and struck out seven. He threw 115 pitches left to a big ovation after retiring the leadoff hitter in the eighth. Game-time temperature was 91.
"I wasn't on top of my game by any means, but we battled," Peavy said. "There's no doubt, it's hot. I threw very little in the bullpen. I didn't even wear the clothes I was going to pitch in to warm up in simply because the humidity and the heat. But playing in it, you get accustomed it. `'
Addison Reed earned his 13th save in 14 chances despite giving up a run in the ninth. He walked leadoff hitter Edwin Encarnacion , gave up a single to Adam Lind and a sacrifice fly to Yunel Escobar before getting Rajai Davis to ground into a game-ending double play.
Lind hit his seventh homer in the second to give Toronto and lefty Aaron Laffey the early lead before the White Sox got three in the fifth with the aid of two Blue Jays errors.
Alexei Ramirez , Gordon Beckham and Kevin Youkilis had RBIs in the fifth inning, and Pierzynski made it a three-run cushion with his 16th homer in the sixth.
Laffey (0-1) yielded eight hits and four runs - three earned - in six innings with a walk and four strikeouts.
"He keeps the game under control, throws a lot of strikes, doesn't get rattled in certain situations and is not going to pitch away from contact," Toronto manager John Farrell said of Laffey. "They were able to bunch some hits together in that fifth inning, and we contributed with some of the defense, but overall he's done a good job for us."
Dayan Viciedo led off the fifth with a double and scored on Ramirez's single. Ramirez made it to second on the throw and went to third when Toronto left fielder Davis' toss sailed over the head of catcher J.P. Arencibia for an error.
Beckham then followed with a bloop single to left between three defenders to give the White Sox a 2-1 lead and made second when third baseman Brett Lawrie made an errant flip attempt to Davis, hoping to get the ball back to the infield. Beckham advanced to third on a fly ball and scored an RBI single by Youkilis. It was Youkilis' seventh RBI in the four-game homestand, his first with the White Sox since a trade from Boston last month.
"We didn't help our cause here tonight," Farrell said. "I thought we hit some balls against Peavy fairly hard. Didn't find a hole, but he did a very good job against us. Not many opportunities. He pretty much kept us in check."
Notes: White Sox RHP Phil Humber, on the DL with a strained elbow, made a rehab start Friday night, pitching for Triple-A Charlotte. He gave up five hits, including a homer, and two runs in four innings. ... Pierzynski is two homers shy of matching his career high of 18 set in 2005. ... The Blue Jays are 24-10 against the White Sox since 2008.