TORONTO — Time is starting to run out on the Toronto Blue Jays, who saw their fading playoff chances take another hit Thursday as they dropped a 10-7 decision to the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox hit three homers off starter Hyun Jin Ryu before surviving a five-run Toronto outburst in the sixth inning at Rogers Centre.
Eloy Jiminez added an insurance run with a solo shot in the ninth and Craig Kimbrel earned his 24th save as the White Sox salvaged a split of the four-game series. The American League Central leaders handed the Blue Jays (66-60) their ninth loss in 13 games.
“You’ve got to give that lineup credit because (Ryu) made some good pitches and they hit the ball out,” said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo. “He didn’t really get hit hard but the home runs got him today.”
Cesar Hernandez, Luis Robert and Jose Abreu went deep to stake Chicago to an early lead while left-hander Carlos Rodon kept the Blue Jays in check in his first start in almost three weeks.
Marcus Semien hit a solo shot in the first inning for Toronto and belted a two-run blast — his 32nd homer of the season — in the sixth.
With the loss, Toronto moved five games behind the Red Sox in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. The Blue Jays’ chances of making the post-season fell to 9.2 per cent, according to FanGraphs.
With 36 games remaining, Toronto has to play at a .667 clip the rest of the way (24-12) just to reach the 90-win mark. Boston was scheduled to play the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
“We just have to work through it and try to fight every game with (just over) a month left in the season,” Ryu said through a translator.
Ryu (12-7) gave up seven hits and tied a season-high with seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings. He walked a batter and had four strikeouts.
It was the first start for Rodon (10-5) since Aug. 7. He was reinstated from the 10-day injured list (left shoulder fatigue) before the game.
Hernandez answered Semien’s early homer in the second inning with a solo shot of his own. It was his 21st homer of the season.
Chicago (74-55) hit back-to-back homers in a three-run third. Robert’s two-run shot was his fourth homer of the year and Abreu followed with his 27th blast of the season.
Leury Garcia’s two-run double powered Chicago’s three-run fourth inning that forced Ryu’s exit.
Rodon, meanwhile, was cruising until the skies opened in the fifth. As the retractable roof slowly closed, the Blue Jays cut into the lead when Reese McGuire scored on a Semien single.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., singled to move Semien to third before play was delayed for about 10 minutes so the grounds crew could rake fresh dirt on the rain-soaked mound.
When play resumed, Rodon struck out Teoscar Hernandez to end the threat. The all-star southpaw gave up five hits, two earned runs and one walk and had three strikeouts over five innings.
Montoyo turned to low-leverage pitching options with the White Sox well out in front. Brad Hand gave up two runs in the sixth as the White Sox piled on.
Chicago reliever Michael Kopech was charged with all five runs in the Toronto half of the frame. It was Semien’s third multi-homer game of the season and ninth of his career.
“This is the best offensive game we’ve had in a while,” Montoyo said. “It was good to see that we came back to make it a game. A good job by our team playing one of the best teams in baseball and going 2-and-2.”
The White Sox, who outhit the Blue Jays 12-10, reached a double-digit run total for the 12th time this season. Chicago moved 9 1/2 games up on second-place Cleveland in the divisional standings.
“Our guys came out there smoking offensively,” said White Sox manager Tony La Russa. “There’s an old saying that ‘If you’ve got a chance to play in October, some of the best wins are the toughest wins.'”
Attendance was 14,958 — a sellout under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions — and the game took three hours 14 minutes to play.
Notes: The in-house DJ had some fun during the rare weather delay by playing the Rihanna hit “Umbrella” as the rain came down. … Blue Jays bench coach John Schneider was ejected in the seventh inning by home-plate umpire Jordan Baker. … Toronto outfielder George Springer (knee) participated in baserunning drills before the game and took part in batting practice. The team has not set a date for his return. … The Blue Jays will begin a weekend series on Friday in Detroit. Left-hander Steven Matz (10-7, 3.94) and Tigers right-hander Matt Manning (3-5, 5.91) are the scheduled starters.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press