CHICAGO — The Toronto Blue Jays got the ball up in the air and then they got out of town with a good feeling in the last game before the All-Star break.
The Blue Jays, who’d lost 8 of their previous 12, hit four homers Sunday to end the Chicago White Sox’s five-game winning streak with an 11-9 victory.
Colby Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion had two-run homers in the first and Kelly Johnson and Jeff Mathis also connected on a windy day at U.S. Cellular Field when Chicago pitching yielded nine walks
“We had a very good offensive day. High number of walks,” manager John Farrell said as his team headed for four days off with a 43-43 record. “First inning we put together, both Colby, who continues to swing the bat well, Eddie with another big home run for us. We needed every run we could put on the board the way this turned out.”
The first-place White Sox got a three-run homer from Alex Rios and kept pecking away, but couldn’t overcome the four-run first-inning deficit and go the All-Star break with a 47-38 record and a three-game lead in the AL Central.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura was ejected in the top of the ninth after charging to the plate to heatedly argue a ball and strike call with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn.
“Yeah he had to let him know. Had to let him know,” Rios said of Ventura’s ejection. Ventura had argued in the sixth when Jose Bautista hit a ball past third that was touched by a fan for a ground rule double. Umpires ruled that a running Rasmus, who’d been on first, was allowed to score on the play.
Ventura was not available to comment after the game because he had to catch a flight for the break — something that was announced before the game.
Jason Frasor (1-1), the third of five Blue Jays’ relievers, was credited with the win and Casey Janssen pitched the final 1 2-3 innings for his 12th save in 13 chances. He gave up two ninth-inning singles before striking out Alejandro De Aza to end it.
“I was just telling the trainers, five outs seems like forever. I got used to getting three. It was all right,” Janssen said.
“I’ve obviously done it before in my career, it was just a little different than the last month or so.”
Rasmus and Edwin Encarnacion had two-run homers following walks in the first off Dylan Axelrod and Kelly Johnson and Jeff Mathis also connected for Toronto on a windy day at U.S. Cellular Field.
“It’s nice when we can swing and outslug the opponents, but it’s tough to do that every day,” said Toronto’s Rajai Davis, who had three stolen bases. “ We’re looking forward to getting it done on defence and having a better second half.”
Axelrod (0-2) was working on just three days rest. It would have been Chris Sale’s turn in the rotation, but the White Sox decided to skip their ace lefty’s last start before the break and he is expected to throw an inning in Tuesday night’s All-Star game
Axelrod gave up six hits, including three homers, and seven runs in his three innings before Mathis greeted reliever Brian Omogrosso with a solo homer in the fourth, making it 8-3.
“You just got to get ground balls. I got behind in some counts and grooved some balls over the plate. And that’s what good hitters do,” Axelrod said.
Adam Dunn’s RBI fielder’s choice grounder and an RBI double by Rios — right after an error on Vizquel at third — finished starter Brett Cecil after 4 1-3 innings and cut Toronto’s lead to 8-5. Alexei Ramirez then hit reliever Jesse Chavez’s first pitch for a two-run triple, slicing the lead to 8-7.
But Davis walked in the sixth, stole second and third and scored on Leyson Septimo’s wild pitch to put Toronto up by two. After another walk to Rasmus, Bautista hit a ball past third that was ruled fair and a fan reached out and touched it, making it a ground rule double. But umpires allowed Rasmus to score from first on the play, despite an argument from Ventura. After another walk, Adam Lind doubled home the Blue Jays’ 11th run.
Cecil gave up six hits and seven runs, six of them earned. Reliever Luis Perez departed in the seventh after giving up hits to the first two batters and walked off the mound with a trainer. Farrell said Perez has tightness in his elbow, will go the disabled list and be evaluated further.
Frasor came on and gave up a sacrifice fly and intentional walk before retiring the side with two strikeouts.
Notes: White Sox RHP Jake Peavy was named as a late injury replacement to the All-Star team for the Angels’ C.J. Wilson. Peavy had lost out in the Final Vote balloting earlier in the week to Texas’ Yu Darvish.Rios tied a career high with his four RBIs. …. Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie sat out with a tight back, a condition that forced him to leave Saturday’s game. … Kevin Youkilis had an RBI double in the sixth, giving him 14 RBIs in his first 13 games with Chicago. … After the game the White Sox optioned right-hander Duente Heath back to Triple-A Charlotte. He did not appear in a game since being recalled July 4.