White Sox-Blue Jays Preview
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.