White Sox edge Blue Jays on pair of home runs
CHICAGO — Toronto starter J.A. Happ experimented with a new arm slot and got predictable results when he left a few pitches out over the plate.
The left-hander surrendered two home runs in his five innings of work and it was all the offence the Chicago White Sox needed to beat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Monday night.
“It’s tough to be 100 per cent on when you’re trying something like that, but there’s no excuse,” Happ said. “This is a big league game. You’ve got to get guys out. And I felt great. It was just those couple of pitches.”
Left-hander Jose Quintana pitched into the eighth inning and rookie Marcus Semien hit his first homer to lead the White Sox. Quintana (9-6), who entered the game with the most no-decisions in the AL at 17, allowed two runs on five hits in 7 1-3 innings. Addison Reed pitched the ninth inning to record his 39th save of the season.
“He’s kind of your classic lefty,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Quintana. “He mixes speeds, moves it in and around. He’s got a quick arm, ball gets on you. It’s more explosive than the radar gun will show you. He’s got a feel. You can tell he just knows what he’s doing out there.”
Happ (4-7) threw 110 pitches in his five innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. Although he allowed two singles in the first, Happ struck out three in the inning. He escaped further damage in the White Sox’s two-run second. Chicago loaded the bases against Happ as Alejandro De Aza (single), Alexei Ramirez (walk) and Jeff Keppinger (walked) reached with two outs. Paul Konerko’s fly out to centre field ended the inning.
“I felt great in that first inning,” Happ said. “Started getting out of that a little, but tried to get back to it during a couple at-bats. For the most part I felt great. Couple pitches over the plate. I guess that was enough tonight.”
Semien’s homer in the second inning opened the scoring. With Dayan Viciedo on first, Semien hit an 0-2 pitch from Happ down the line and well over the fence for a 2-0 lead. Semien was called up on Sept. 4.
“I feel good about the way I’ve been playing,” Semien said. “I try not to worry about making a case or anything like that. I try to focus on helping the team win. I’m glad we got the win tonight.”
The Blue Jays cut the lead in half as catcher J.P. Arencibia led off the fifth inning with his 21st homer, but the White Sox got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Avisail Garcia led off with a solo shot to make it 3-1.
“I thought (Happ’s) stuff was better than the results and how he probably felt,” Gibbons said.
“That first inning he was really on. I think he just needed to mix it up a little bit more, get his curveball going a little more. He’s not a pinpoint guy with his fastball.”
The Blue Jays closed the gap to 3-2 on a run-scoring single by Ryan Goins in the eighth inning, but that was as close as they got.
NOTES: Adam Dunn was not in the starting lineup for the third straight game. White Sox manager Robin Ventura said his playing time has been limited lately in part to get some younger guys in the lineup. Although Dunn is hitting .218 this season, he is batting .130 in September with 27 strikeouts in 17 games. “Some people have to sit and watch, but I understand and it’s good to kind of evaluate the kids, too,” Dunn said. ... This game was a makeup of a rainout on June 12. The White Sox flew in from Detroit on their way to Cleveland, while the Blue Jays flew in from Boston on their way to Baltimore. “You can use a day off when what happened back in June happened, but you know there’s a price to pay later,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ... Ventura’s original three-year contract expires after next season, but he said he isn’t interested in discussing a contract extension right now. “It has to be on both sides,” he said, “but that’s a discussion for another day.” ... The White Sox will send Hector Santiago (4-9) against Ubaldo Jimenez (12-9) in Cleveland on Tuesday, while the Blue Jays will send Todd Redmond (4-2) against Baltimore’s Chris Tillman(16-7).