TORONTO — Jose Abreu homered in Chicago’s four-run first inning as the White Sox ended a three-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
Luis Robert scored twice as the White Sox (73-54) used an 18-hit attack to hand the Blue Jays (65-59) their eighth loss in 11 games. Corey Dickerson hit a solo homer for Toronto.
Chicago’s Dylan Cease (10-6) allowed four hits over seven innings while Toronto starter Jose Berrios (8-7) struggled from the outset on a warm evening at Rogers Centre.
Robert and Yoan Moncada singled before Abreu belted an 0-1 offering – just the fifth pitch of the game from Berrios – for his 26th homer of the year.
Danny Mendick added an RBI double before Berrios fanned No. 9 hitter Zack Collins to end his 33-pitch frame. Berrios lasted just two more innings before being replaced by Trent Thornton.
Abreu drove in another run on a groundout after the White Sox put runners on the corners in the fourth. Cease, meanwhile, retired the first 11 batters before Vladimir Guerrero Jr., singled in the bottom half of the frame.
Toronto’s first extra-base hit came in the fifth when Alejandro Kirk doubled into the gap in right-centre field. He moved to third on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr., single but both runners were stranded when Santiago Espinal popped up.
Abreu picked up his third hit of the game an inning later but Gurriel’s strong throw from left field prevented the Chicago slugger from stretching it to a double.
Dickerson turned on a 97-m.p.h. fastball in the seventh inning for his fifth home run of the season.
The Blue Jays threatened in the eighth after one-out singles by Espinal and Bo Bichette. Liam Hendriks replaced Michael Kopech and walked Marcus Semien to load the bases for Guerrero, who worked a full count before grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Toronto also brought the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning.
Gurriel drove in Teoscar Hernandez to make it a three-run game but with two runners on, Hendriks struck out Josh Palacios and got Espinal to ground out to end it.
Cease fanned seven and issued one walk over his tidy 95-pitch outing. Berrios, acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins, allowed four earned runs and nine hits while striking out six.
Toronto entered play 4 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. The Blue Jays started the day with a 13.1-per cent chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs.
The White Sox started the day with a nine-game lead on the second-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.
Announced attendance was 14,553 and the game took three hours 12 minutes to play.
Notes: Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson after a mound visit in the first inning. … The White Sox reinstated utilityman Leury García from the 10-day injured list before the game and optioned right-hander Ryan Burr to triple-A Charlotte. … The Blue Jays will send left-hander Robbie Ray (9-5, 2.79 ERA) to the mound Wednesday night against right-hander Lucas Giolito (9-9, 3.77).
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press