The Chicago White Sox are in position to win their first series at Toronto in more than six years.
Thanks to the return of journeyman outfielder Dewayne Wise , the AL Central-leading White Sox can accomplish that feat Thursday night with a third straight win over the Blue Jays to conclude a four-game set.
Wise hit a two-run homer and had four RBIs while Adam Dunn connected for his major league-leading 34th home run Wednesday in Chicago's 9-5 win. After losing Monday's series opener 3-2 in 11 innings, the White Sox (64-52) have won the last two and have a chance for their first winning series at Toronto since Aug. 4-6, 2006.
That also was the last season Chicago won three straight games at Rogers Centre. The White Sox had dropped 17 of 21 at Toronto prior to this series."The goal is to win every series and with a win (Wednesday) we can put ourselves in that position (Thursday)," said Dunn, 5 for 14 with three homers in the set.
Wise is 3 for 8 with five RBIs in the series. He delivered a game-tying single in the fifth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 win, then drove in the first four runs Wednesday. In his second stint with the White Sox, Wise is 5 for 12 with six RBIs in three games since Chicago recalled him from the minors Saturday.
Yet to factor in a decision for his new team, Francisco Liriano (3-10, 5.35 ERA) looks to bounce back from a rough outing when he makes his fourth start since being traded to the White Sox. The former Minnesota left-hander allowed three runs and eight hits in 11 innings over his first two outings with Chicago, but gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings of a 9-7 loss to Oakland on Saturday.
"I was getting behind in the count," Liriano told the White Sox's official website. "It's tough pitching when you get behind in the count most of the time."
Liriano has lost all three of his career starts against the Blue Jays (55-62) while posting a 5.74 ERA.
Johnson's homer was his only hit in 11 at-bats over his last four contests.
Mathis, who signed a two-year contract worth $3 million Tuesday, is batting .135 (7 for 52) in his last 15 games but is 2 for 5 with a home run versus Liriano.
Toronto's Aaron Laffey (3-3, 4.72) takes the mound hoping to rebound after he allowed five runs - four in the fourth - and four walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 home loss to New York on Saturday."It's one of those games where you kind of beat your head against the wall," said Laffey, 1-2 with an 8.18 ERA in his last four starts. "You pitched real well pretty much the entire game and have one inning wreck the whole outing."
The left-hander dropped to 2-4 with a 4.03 ERA in six starts against the White Sox when he gave up four runs in six innings of a 4-2 loss July 6.
Dunn is 0 for 5 with four strikeouts against Laffey.
|Alejandro De Aza||1||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|Chicago White Sox|
|August 12, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore left forearm|
|August 08, 2012||Paul Konerko||7-Day DL||Mild concussion|
|August 08, 2012||Alex Rios||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|August 08, 2012||Paul Konerko||Day-to-Day||Mild concussion|
|August 07, 2012||Kevin Youkilis||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|August 06, 2012||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|August 12, 2012||Kelly Johnson||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|August 11, 2012||Colby Rasmus||Day-to-Day||Groin injury|
|August 04, 2012||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|August 03, 2012||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Left game - rib cage tightness|
|July 26, 2012||Joel Carreno||15-Day DL|
|July 26, 2012||Adam Lind||15-Day DL||Mid-back strain|
TORONTO (AP) -- Backed by a five homer barrage, Francisco Liriano earned his first win with the Chicago White Sox.
Alex Rios hit a three-run homer against his former team, Liriano snapped a six-start winless skid and the Chicago White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Thursday night.
"He's a big acquisition," Rios said of Liriano. "If he keeps doing what he's been doing lately, he's going to make us so much better and that's what we need right now."
Tyler Flowers , Dayan Viciedo , Alexei Ramirez and Dewayne Wise all hit solo home runs as the White Sox matched a season high by going deep five times. Chicago has hit 28 home runs in its past 13 games. The power surge helped Chicago win its first series in Toronto since 2006.
Manager Robin Ventura said his players were "giddy" with celebration at the rare series win at Rogers Centre, none more so than A.J. Pierzynski.
"It means a lot," Pierzynski said. "I know coming here since I've been here it hasn't been real productive or successful. It's just nice to come in here and win a series.
"Given the time of year and the situation we're in where every game means so much, to come in here and win three out of four is huge," Pierzynski added.
Viciedo and Flowers hit consecutive long balls in the fifth inning, the eighth time this season the White Sox have gone back-to-back.
Play was halted for 4 minutes in the seventh inning while a fan received medical attention and was taken away on a stretcher. Ambulance sirens could be heard outside the stadium as the fan was carted off, still receiving CPR.
Toronto Police Services confirmed that the male fan later died at a hospital after collapsing in the stands.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the person who was taken out of here tonight," Toronto manager John Farrell said.
White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis was the first player to notice the activity in the stands, and alerted umpire Mark Wegner to what was going on.
"I saw some medics jump out around the dugout and run over," Youkilis said. "Then I saw a doctor or whoever was going, just pushing on the chest over and over and over. I thought maybe they were reviving him and then the next thing you know, they kept going and going. I was like `God, man. We've got to stop this thing."'
Jesse Crain , who was on the mound at the time, was left shaken by the episode.
"I said a little prayer for him after everything started going again," Crain said. "You don't ever want to see that."
This is the second time this season a fan has received CPR at a Blue Jays game. It also happened June 29.
Liriano (4-10) allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time since July 6 at Texas, while pitching for Minnesota. The left-hander, who walked one and struck out six, was traded to Chicago on July 28.
Liriano came in 0-3 with a 5.09 ERA in five career games against Toronto, but kept the Blue Jays in check after a two-run, three-hit second inning, retiring 13 straight batters in one stretch.
"It's been kind of up and down the last month," Liriano said. "I felt pretty good tonight. Physically I feel very good. Location-wise, pitching-wise, it was a good night."
Crain got two outs, Brett Myers worked the eighth and Philip Humber finished for Chicago.
Trailing 2-0 on Moises Sierra 's second home run, Chicago halved the deficit in the third when Wise hit a one-out drive to right, his fifth of the year and second in two days.
The White Sox took the lead in the fifth when Viciedo led off with his 19th homer and second in two days, and Flowers followed two pitches later with a towering drive into the fourth deck in left, his fourth.
It was the fourth time this season the Blue Jays have allowed back-to-back home runs.
Chicago broke it open with a four-run eighth. After Youkilis singled and Adam Dunn walked, Rios drilled his 19th home run, connecting off Darren Oliver . One out later, Ramirez launched a second deck homer off Brandon Lyon , his sixth.
Aaron Laffey (3-4) allowed three runs and three hits, all homers, in six innings to lose for the third time in four starts.
"Tonight, as has been the case in this series, we were plagued by the long ball," Farrell said.
Blue Jays pitchers gave up 10 home runs in the four game series.
Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from the lineup with pain in his left shoulder and wrist after a diving play in the outfield Wednesday. Encarnacion has made just three appearances in the outfield this season.
NOTES: Chicago's last series win at Rogers Centre came when they took two of three in August, 2006. ... Toronto OF Jose Bautista (left wrist) hit in the cage Wednesday and is expected to take batting practice on the field Saturday and Sunday. If all goes well, Bautista could begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday. ... Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie (strained right oblique) is expected to begin a rehab assignment at Class-A Dunedin on Saturday and could be activated off the DL in time to return Tuesday when Toronto opens a three-game series at Detroit. ... With Gordon Beckham getting a day off and Orlando Hudson (toe) nursing an injury, Ray Olmedo made his first start at second base since Sept. 30, 2006. Hudson left Wednesday's game after fouling a ball off his left foot. ... Chicago OF Alejandro De Aza was given the day off.