Josh Johnson has yet to find a rhythm during the little time he's spent as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The right-hander looks to bounce back from one of the shortest starts of his career when the Blue Jays try for a second straight win over the visiting Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Johnson (0-1, 11.05 ERA) allowed four runs and nine hits during a 6-4 loss to Boston in his Toronto (6-7) debut April 5, but struck out six and lasted six innings. It was much better than Thursday at Detroit, where he gave up six runs and seven hits in 1 1-3 innings of an 11-1 defeat."I haven't thrown a slider for a strike yet, and I need that pitch," Johnson said. "When I'm throwing it for strikes, it is something that the hitters have to think about, but this is two starts now, and it hasn't happened. They were all over my curveball for some reason, and the fastball was just hanging over the plate."
Dating to last season with Miami, Johnson is 0-4 with a 5.81 ERA in his last five starts.
He's also a big reason the Blue Jays' rotation is among the worst in the majors with a 6.11 ERA and has yet to have a starter complete seven innings.
"I wish I could go 100-120 pitches just to help save the bullpen a little bit," Johnson told the Blue Jays' official website. "But when you give up five, six hits in a row, and six runs in 1 1/3 innings, it's not really going to work out."
Johnson is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA against the White Sox, but has not faced them since 2010.
He'll try to help the Blue Jays build on a 4-3 win over Chicago on Monday. J.P. Arencibia and Maicer Izturis each homered and Mark Buehrle allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings to beat his former team as Toronto won for the third time in four games.
Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion added three hits, and is 4 for 7 in the last two games to raise his average from .119 to .184. He's batting .406 (13 for 32) during an eight-game hitting streak against the White Sox (5-8) and has a homer in two at-bats against scheduled starter Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 5.79).
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 7.00 ERA versus Toronto, both at home. He gave up three hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-3 win in 2011, but yielded seven runs and three homers over three innings of an 11-9 loss last season.
Axelrod allowed six runs, seven hits and walked four in 3 2-3 innings of a 7-4 loss at Washington on Thursday.
Dayan Viciedo had three hits Monday for Chicago, which is 1-6 on a 10-game trip.
Teammate Adam Dunn is 0 for 14 in his last four games and has seen his average drop to .128. He's 4 for 24 (.167) with a homer and 12 strikeouts versus Johnson.
It's uncertain if Toronto slugger Jose Bautista will return after he missed the series opener with a sore back.
"His back just flared up on him," manager John Gibbons said. "Hopefully, it's just a day. We don't think it's a big deal."
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays are expected to activate infielder Brett Lawrie , who opened the season on the disabled list with a strained rib cage.
|Chicago White Sox|
|April 10, 2013||Gordon Beckham||15-Day DL||Fractured hamate bone, left wrist|
|April 10, 2013||Angel Sanchez||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|April 09, 2013||Gordon Beckham||Day-to-Day||Left game - nerve irritation, left wrist|
|March 22, 2013||Leyson Septimo||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|March 22, 2013||John Danks||15-Day DL||Recovery from left shoulder surgery|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|April 13, 2013||Jose Reyes||15-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|April 12, 2013||Jose Reyes||Day-to-Day||Sprained left ankle|
|April 11, 2013||Darren Oliver||Day-to-Day||Arm|
|April 04, 2013||Jose Bautista||Day-to-Day||Left game - Twisted ankle|
|March 27, 2013||Dustin McGowan||60-Day DL||Sore right shoulder|
|March 25, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Strained rib|
TORONTO (AP) -- Paul Konerko 's base running as well as his power helped give the White Sox a much-needed win.
Dayan Viciedo doubled home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning, Konerko later scored on a sacrifice fly and Chicago rallied to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 on Tuesday.
"It was a gritty win," Konerko said. "It was a good win because we've played a lot of games that looked like that in this ballpark and they always seem to be losses."
Chicago came in having lost 19 of their past 22 games in Toronto, but Konerko made sure they didn't lose on Tuesday. The veteran DH hit a game-tying homer and scored three runs as the White Sox won for just the second time in eight games.
The White Sox were swept in a three-game series in Washington last week and dropped two of three at Cleveland over the weekend before losing Monday's opener in Toronto.
"This has been a road trip from hell for us," slugger Adam Dunn said. "We haven't been able to score any runs."
They scratched out just enough to win this one. Facing reliever Steve Delabar , Dunn walked to begin the ninth and was replaced by pinch runner Dewayne Wise .
Konerko followed with a walk and Conor Gillaspie struck out before Viciedo drove in Wise with a double over the head of center fielder Emilio Bonifacio .
"Those are the kind of things that help your offense as far as giving you a good feeling," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Alexei Ramirez was intentionally walked and Darren Oliver came on to face Hector Gimenez , who drove in Konerko with a sacrifice fly to right. Konerko slid home safely when the throw from Davis missed wide.
"It's not always easy to score Paulie from third," Ventura said with a wry smile.
No one knows that better than Konerko.
"I'm never really confident when it comes to me trying to outrun a ball," he said. "I ran as fast as I could. Obviously the throw was off line a little bit. Even then it was still close."
Dunn called it a "hold your breath" play.
Matt Lindstrom (1-0) got one out for the win and Addison Reed finished for his fifth save in as many opportunities.
Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind hit consecutive singles off Reed to begin the ninth, just the second and third hits he's allowed this season. Brett Lawrie followed with a sacrifice fly, but Reed got Rajai Davis and Maicer Izturis to fly out.
Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia hit solo home runs for the Blue Jays, who couldn't hold on after taking a 2-1 lead in the sixth.
Delabar (1-1) allowed two runs and one hit in 1 1-3 innings.
The White Sox opened the scoring in the second, loading the bases with two singles and a walk before Konerko scored from third on a wild pitch by Blue Jays right-hander Josh Johnson .
Rasmus tied it in the bottom half with a two-out blast to center, his fourth.
Arencibia put the Blue Jays in front with a two-out homer in the sixth, his fifth of the season and second in two days.
Johnson had retired 10 straight White Sox batters, but his streak ended quickly in the seventh as he fell behind 3-0 on Konerko before allowing a game-tying homer to left. For Konerko, the drive was his third.
"His stuff was really good tonight," Konerko said of Johnson. "I got lucky to get a couple of fastballs that didn't have a lot of movement."
Neither starter figured in the decision. Chicago's Dylan Axelrod allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, walked one and struck out four. Johnson allowed two runs and four hits in a season-high seven innings. He walked two and struck out eight, also a season high.
"He was terrific," manager John Gibbons said of Johnson. "I thought maybe early he was overthrowing a little bit but he settled in and did a great job. He kept us in the game. We're still waiting for the offense to break out."
Lawrie made his first start of the season after being activated off the 15-day disabled list Monday. Lawrie had been sidelined since early March with a strained left ribcage muscle suffered at the World Baseball Classic.
Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game suffering from a sore back and flu-like symptoms.
"He wasn't ready to pinch hit," Gibbons said. "Hopefully he'll be ready (Wednesday)."
NOTES: Following the game, the White Sox optioned RHP Deunte Heath to Triple-A Charlotte. A corresponding roster move will be made before Wednesday's game. ... Blue Jays LHP Ricky Romero threw a simulated game at extended spring training Tuesday, but is still not scheduled to appear in a minor league game. Toronto's opening day starter in 2012, Romero was optioned to Class A Dunedin near the end of spring training. ... Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper , who has been away while recovering from an illness, is set to rejoin the team Friday when the White Sox return to host the Minnesota Twins .