By Gregor Chisholm and Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- The White Sox scored five runs and sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh inning to steal a game away from the Blue Jays with a 7-5 victory on Monday night at Rogers Centre. Chicago has now won four consecutive games.
Adam Eaton and Jimmy Rollins had RBI singles in the seventh before veteran third baseman Todd Frazier delivered the decisive blow with a bases-loaded double to left, which scored two. In a matter of minutes, Chicago went from what seemed like an inevitable loss to putting the finishes touches on its 14th win of the season.
Toronto tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth inning and had two runners on with two outs when Michael Saunders hit a chopper to the right side of the infield. Troy Tulowitzki accidentally ran into the ball on his way to second base and was called out for runner's interference to end the game.
Toronto left-handed reliever Brett Cecil took the loss. He entered a 5-1 game with the bases loaded and two outs but could not retire any of the three batters he faced. Right-hander Gavin Floyd later entered -- also with the bases full -- and surrendered the two-run double to Frazier before he finally got out of the inning.
"My approach is just to see the ball," Frazier said about his go-ahead double. "See the ball, get a pitch where I want it and don't miss it. That's what I go by; try to slow everything down. I know we were down one run, and if I can find a way to get one guy in that's good enough, but I got a pitch up and I did something with it."
Chicago's late rally spoiled what was an otherwise strong night for Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman. Toronto's No. 1 starter allowed one run in the first but then cruised through most of his outing until he left in the seventh with two outs. All three of his inherited runners later came around to score, which saddled the third-year pitcher with four earned runs on six hits and two walks.
"I play the game extremely passionately, and I was just extremely frustrated with the way things played out there," said Stroman, who smashed his glove into the dugout bench when Toronto gave up the lead. "I felt pretty good all night, and I was just really frustrated with the way things turned out. I felt like I didn't do my job in the end, when I felt so good, so it was pretty frustrating."
Left fielder Saunders hit a two-run homer in a losing cause for the Blue Jays, while Edwin Encarnacion went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rally Time: Trailing 5-1, the White Sox chased Stroman and rallied for five runs to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh. Chicago produced three two-out, run-scoring hits, including Eaton's two-run single, an RBI single from Rollins and capped off the comeback with a two-run double off the left-field wall from Frazier. More >
Saunders returns in a big way: Saunders returned to the lineup following a three-game absence because of a sore hamstring and made his presence felt almost immediately. In the third inning, Saunders lifted a deep fly ball to center field for a two-run shot that extended Toronto's lead to 5-1. According to Statcast™, Saunders' second of the year was projected to travel 414 feet and left his bat at 106 mph.
Early offense: The White Sox entered Monday's game last in the Major Leagues in first-inning runs scored, but the South Siders opened the scoring against Stroman in the first. Jose Abreu's RBI groundout to short followed back-to-back singles by Eaton and Rollins to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Easy Eddie: Encarnacion could be on the verge of another hot streak. He just missed a pair of home runs Monday night, but two of his shots still did some damage. In the first inning, he doubled off the wall in straight-away center field, which scored Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista. Two innings later, Encarnacion was back at it with an RBI single up the middle. He finished the day with the two hits and three RBIs and nearly hit another one out in the fourth but instead flew out to the warning track.
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Toronto's bullpen has allowed 50 percent of inherited runners to score this season (17 of 34), which is the highest percentage in the American League.
Toronto was trailing 7-5 with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the ninth inning when Saunders hit a high chopper to the right side of the infield. Tulowitzki was running from first base on contact, and he tried to track the ball through the air, but it took a slightly awkward bounce and hit him on the arm.
Per league rules, since the runner made contact with a ball that was in play, Tulowitzki was called out for interference. The game ended and Chicago was handed its fourth consecutive win.
"I'm trying to get to second base there, so I'm trying to time it perfect," Tulowitzki said. "The ball kicked back at me a little bit, hit me in the arm. You sit there, and you're pretty frustrated. You don't want that game to ever end that way. But at the same time, I know that I did everything possible to try to make that play work, it just didn't happen."
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Chris Sale (4-0, 1.80) gets the ball for the second game of the White Sox three-game series against the Blue Jays on Tuesday at 6:07 p.m. CT at Rogers Centre. Sale went seven innings and gave up an unearned run in his last outing, a 2-1 win against the Angels.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (1-2, 6.10) will make his fifth start of the year when the Blue Jays continue their series against the White Sox. Dickey has gotten off to a slow start this year, but he did appear to turn things around in his last outing, when he faced one batter over the minimum from the second inning until he departed after the sixth vs. Baltimore. First pitch is set for 7:07 p.m. ET.