CHICAGO -- The White Sox hadn't hit in 12 opportunities with runners in scoring position during Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field. Todd Frazier's futility streak extended deeper than one night.
But it was Frazier who came through with a single to left off of Jesse Chavez with two outs in the seventh to score Tim Anderson and give the White Sox a 3-2 victory. The White Sox have won four of their last five games, all coming against the American League East.
"We've scored some more runs. I think that's the biggest thing," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura, whose team is 9-for-77 with RISP over its last nine games. "We did scratch it through. I think our pitchers came through. That back end was grinding the whole way. They did it in Boston, too. [Zach Duke] back in that eighth spot, that was a big inning going through those guys."
Anderson started the rally with what was ruled a hustle double rolling under the glove of third baseman Josh Donaldson. He moved to third on Adam Eaton's fly ball to left but stayed there when first baseman Edwin Encarnacion made a slick grab of Melky Cabrera's high hopper down the line. Frazier connected on a 1-1 fastball that was pretty much center cut, giving him two straight singles after knocking out three hits in his previous 37 at-bats.
David Robertson earned the save, but he had to pitch out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth. Encarnacion struck out for a fourth time, and Michael Saunders hit a weak popup to shortstop Anderson to end the night.
"It would have been a lot nicer if it was 1-2-3," Robertson said. "I'll remember that one for sure."
The Blue Jays, who lost for the fourth time in the past five games, were coming off their second off-day of the week, a scheduling rarity. Kevin Pillar, who went 2-for-4 and drove in both Toronto runs, felt like it might've had something to do with Encarnacion's rough night.
"You tell me we have bases loaded in the ninth inning with [Encarnacion] up, and I like our chances," Pillar said. "He just didn't seem like himself today, and part of that is the off-day and part of that's just baseball. But that's the guy we want up there."
Toronto scored one run in the second and one in the sixth. The White Sox posted one run in the fourth and one in the fifth before Frazier's big hit. Both starters finished with no-decisions, as Aaron Sanchez struck out four and allowed eight hits over six innings for the Blue Jays, while Carlos Rodon fanned eight and yielded six hits in 5 2/3 innings for Chicago.
"It's just an unfortunate night for us," Sanchez said. "One-run games like that, you want to come out on top. It was exciting, but not the outcome we wanted."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cooper departs early: White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was not around to see the finish of Friday's series opener, as he was ejected by first-base umpire Angel Hernandez in the sixth inning. Cooper was arguing a balk call against Rodon, which moved Saunders to second. Saunders eventually scored from third on Pillar's infield hit. That infield hit was a byproduct of Rodon's poor footwork at first, as he raced to cover the base after Frazier made a diving stop to his right.
Under pressure: Sanchez allowed runners to reach base every inning he was on the mound, including a runner advancing to at least second in the second through sixth frames. He only allowed two runs, though, by working out of some tight spots. In the second, Chicago put runners at the corners with one out, only to watch Sanchez negate the threat with a strikeout and a groundout. Three straight groundouts held the White Sox to just one run in the fourth, after the first two hitters reached base.
"I felt like I've done a pretty good job of doing that in previous starts coming into today," Sanchez said. "I've had opportunities and experiences to work out of that, so when I get into situations, I just try not to let it get too big and take it one pitch at a time. That sounds so cliché, but when you get into situations like that, you've got to make sure you execute the pitch [that's called]."
The Melk-man delivers: Cabrera finished the recently completed four-game set against Boston with five hits in his last two games. He continued that hot streak Friday by coming a triple short of the cycle among his three hits. He belted his eighth homer with two outs in the fifth.
Extra effort: Pillar made Rodon pay for three miscues in the sixth with a diving effort for an infield single. Rodon hit Saunders with a pitch to start the inning and balked him to second. A fly ball to deep center moved Saunders to third with two outs for Pillar, who hit a grounder to Frazier at first. Frazier fielded the ball and flipped it to Rodon running over to cover, but Pillar's left hand hit the base before Rodon's right foot. Saunders scored to tie it at 2.
"I saw the first baseman leave his feet and I knew it was going to be a close play," Pillar said. "I feel like if a pitcher runs over there and can't find the base, like he didn't, the next thing they're taught to do is tag a guy, so going in low makes that a little bit more challenging for him. I was just doing whatever it took."
"That's why it's a fun game. Crowd got into it and we want that every day. But we'll take a 10-0 win, too, if we can." -- Frazier, on the crazy ninth inning.
Mark Buehrle and his family made an appearance at Friday night's contest. Buehrle, who has not officially retired, posted a 161-119 record in 12 years with the White Sox and made a major contribution to the 2005 World Series championship. He also had a 40-28 record in three seasons with the Blue Jays.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Donaldson reached on an infield single to load the bases with one out in the ninth, when the ball ricocheted off of Tyler Saladino's chest and Darwin Barney beat the tag at third. The White Sox challenged, but after review, it was ruled that the call stands.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays:R.A. Dickey (4-8, 4.08 ERA) is set to make his 16th start of the season and second against the White Sox this year on Saturday. Dickey took the loss against Chicago on April 26 in Toronto when he allowed six runs on eight hits -- two home runs -- in six innings. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. ET.
White Sox:Miguel Gonzalez (1-2, 4.29 ERA) is scheduled to make his 11th appearance (10th start) of the season, fourth start at home and second start against Toronto. He has gone 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA lifetime against the Blue Jays. First pitch on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. CT.