Strong starting pitching has helped pace the Chicago White Sox during their latest winning stretch.
Gavin Floyd hopes to continue that trend while trying to end his own struggles against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and lead the White Sox to a fifth consecutive victory Saturday.
Jake Peavy allowed a run in 7 1-3 innings and A.J. Pierzynski hit his 16th homer to lift Chicago (46-37) to a 4-2 win over Toronto on Friday.
Winners in 10 of 13, the White Sox have outscored Texas and Toronto 30-9 during their four-game winning streak. Chicago starters have posted a 2.22 ERA against the Rangers and Blue Jays.
The White Sox's last loss came Sunday at Yankee Stadium when Floyd (6-8, 4.91 ERA) gave up a pair of two-run homers and walked a season-high five on 122 pitches in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss.
"It's laboring to make pitches, trying to keep the team in the game, trying to grind through it," said Floyd, who had allowed nine hits and walked one over 13 1-3 scoreless innings to win his previous two starts.
The right-hander has not faced the Blue Jays since 2010, but he is 0-4 with a 7.45 ERA in five starts against them.
Pierzynski, meanwhile, is batting .355 with two homers and six RBIs in his last eight games versus Toronto. Left off the All-Star team, Pierzynski is 8 for 20 with four home runs and seven RBIs in his last five games overall.
Looking to help the Blue Jays (42-42) avoid a third straight defeat, Romero is 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA in four starts against the White Sox. He gave up five runs - three earned - and allowed homers to Pierzynski and Adam Dunn in seven innings of a 9-5 win at Chicago on June 5.
This time, Romero is looking to get back on track after two horrendous outings.
The left-hander had been struggling for a while, allowing at least four runs in six straight starts, but yielded 17 runs, 18 hits and nine walks over nine innings while losing his last two starts. Romero was roughed up for eight runs and 11 hits in six innings of an 11-3 loss to Kansas City on Monday."You feel like you're in the quicksand," said Romero, who has a 7.24 ERA in his last six road starts. "Every time you just keep getting deeper and deeper and you don't know how to get out of it."
Adam Lind homered and had two of Toronto's six hits Friday."We didn't help our cause," manager John Farrell said. "Not many opportunities."
Lind is batting .209 overall but is 6 for 15 with two home runs and four RBIs in the last four games. He's 6 for 13 with two doubles and a homer versus Floyd.
|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) -- Kevin Youkilis insists this strong run has nothing to do with his old team. It's all about the Chicago White Sox now, and the AL Central leaders are sure glad to have the veteran third baseman in their lineup.
Youkilis backed Gavin Floyd with a two-run homer and the White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 on Saturday for their fifth consecutive win.
Floyd (7-8) allowed four hits and walked two in 7 2-3 innings while improving to 3-1 with a 1.37 ERA in his last four starts. The 6-foot-6 right-hander received a standing ovation when he left in the eighth.
The White Sox are a season-high 10 games over .500 and have won a season-best seven straight at home.
Ricky Romero (8-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings for the Blue Jays, who have lost three straight.
Romero made one big mistake, and it was a costly one.
With two out in the fifth inning and Alexei Ramirez on first, Youkilis drove Romero's 1-1 pitch over the wall in center for his seventh homer of the season and No. 3 since he was acquired in a trade with the Red Sox.
"It's hard to say you expect it, but you like having guys on base and you like him in tough situations because he just continues to find the right pitch and just battle," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Youkilis has produced the go-ahead RBI in five of his last six games. Saturday's drive sent Romero to his third consecutive loss.
"The 1-1 pitch where he's trying to go in on Youkilis, he misfires across the plate and it cost him two runs, and ultimately the ballgame," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But his mound presence, his demeanor, body language all that was very good, and I thought he attacked the zone with confidence."
With his clutch hitting and strong play at third base, Youkilis has quickly become a fan favorite in his first homestand with his new club. The familiar "Yooouk" salute that was once a fixture at Fenway Park is quickly becoming a regular occurrence at U.S. Cellular Field.
"You can be popular one week then a bomb the next," Youkilis said. "The game is crazy and you just have to keep grinding it out. You can't get too high, you can't get too low, you just try to stay in the middle."
Youkilis is blocking out all talk that he has something to prove to his former team.
"Hey, this has nothing to do with the Red Sox," he said. "I play for the White Sox, I'm here to play for the White Sox."
With closer Addison Reed getting the day off, Matt Thornton got four outs for his second save of the season. Jose Bautista hit a one-out drive in the ninth that left fielder Dayan Viciedo lost in the sun, but the White Sox recovered in time to cut down the All-Star slugger trying for a triple.
"That play's right in front of him," Farrell said. "Down two with one out and Edwin (Encarnacion) coming up, he was trying to generate something. It took a bang-bang relay throw, they executed it and it didn't work."
Bautista argued the call with third base umpire Derryl Cousins, but quickly left the field.
Brett Lawrie led off the game with a single, but Floyd did not allow another hit until J.P. Arencibia led off the sixth with a single. Arencibia was quickly retired on Lawrie's double-play ball.
Floyd entered with an 0-5 record and a 7.26 career ERA against the Blue Jays.
"He was so super aggressive, which is something we've been harping on a while," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "It was nice to see and it was nice for him to get the results he got."
NOTES: Youkilis has 13 RBIs in 12 games since joining the White Sox. ... Ventura said LHP Chris Sale will pitch no more than one inning in the All-Star game on Tuesday. The 23-year-old Sale is 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA in his first season as a starter. The White Sox are closely monitoring Sale's workload. ... Farrell set his rotation for the second half. Romero will start Friday, followed by Aaron Laffey , Carlos Villanueva , Henderson Alvarez and Brett Cecil . ... Lawrie left in the sixth inning with lower back tightness.