Five over fence equal first W for Liriano

Five over fence equal first W for Liriano

Five over fence equal first W for Liriano
TORONTO -- Manager Robin Ventura wanted to see his team's reliance on the long ball end during his club's four-game set in Toronto, but the White Sox kept hitting them and Ventura, not surprisingly, didn't have any gripes about it.

The White Sox matched a season high by homering five times -- a night after a pair of late-inning home runs powered them to victory -- and put an emphatic 7-2 stamp on Thursday's series finale with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Chicago's five homers helped ensure Francisco Liriano his first win as a member of the White Sox.

"I know coming here, since I've been here, it hasn't been real productive or successful, so it's just nice to come in here and win a series," said A.J. Pierzynski, whose carer-best hitting streak was snapped at 16 games. "They always seem to play very well against us, especially in this building."

Dewayne Wise began the homer-fest for the White Sox in the third inning, continuing his torrid start with Chicago. Wise, who homered for the second time in as many days, hit a solo shot off Blue Jays starter Aaron Laffey, which put Chicago on the board and cut Toronto's two-run lead in half.

Chicago made the homer-prone Laffey pay again in the fifth; this time, with back-to-back bombs.

Dayan Viciedo led off with a solo homer to left, his 19th of the season, before Tyler Flowers crushed a no- doubter off the facing of the upper deck to give the White Sox a 3-2 lead.

Laffey worked six innings, allowing a career-high three homers, while walking one and striking out five. All three of the hits Laffey surrendered went out of the park. Laffey, who fell to 3-4 with the loss, has allowed eight homers over his past five starts.

"For me personally, I get done, I'm sitting there and it feels like I just gave up 10 runs," Laffey said. "It's disappointing to throw so well, but in the end, three big pitches hurt me and put us down in the game."

The three homers off Laffey were all the White Sox, and Liriano, needed, but they tacked on some insurance.

Former Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, who was booed emphatically the entire series, hit a three-run homer, his 19th, off Darren Oliver in the eighth, and two batters later, Alexei Ramirez took Brandon Lyon deep to put the White Sox ahead, 7-2.

"This is professional sports, you have to get used to it," Rios said about the booing. "If you don't get used to that, you are not going to survive. It's something that happens everywhere you go and is part of the game."

The five homers increased Chicago's total to 28 over its past 13 games.

Liriano did his part as well and put a second-inning homer behind him to dominate the Blue Jays the rest of the way.

The left-hander retired 14 of the next 15 batters, including 13 straight, until issuing a walk to Yunel Escobar to start the seventh.

Liriano was removed for reliever Jesse Crain after getting David Cooper to hit into a force out, and Crain escaped the inning unscathed.

Coming off his worst start with Chicago, Liriano worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs on three hits, while walking one and striking out six. Of his six strikeouts, five came off his slider.

Ventura felt the key for Liriano, who surrendered six runs in his last outing, was his ability to get ahead and attack the strike zone. A happy Liriano thought his offspeed pitches, and particularly his slider, which Pierzynksi said he's glad he no longer has to try to hit, was the difference.

"Got the first one out of the way, and like I said before, I want to go out there every five days and give us a chance to win a ballgame and try to do my job and have fun with the guys."

Liriano entered the start with the American League's lowest average run support (3.38) per game, and only got three Thursday, but his teammates were glad to at least secure him the victory.

"He has pitched well a couple times and we haven't scored any runs for him, so it was nice tonight that we scored enough runs to get him a win," Pierzynski said.

Rios knows the type of game-changer Liriano can be for the White Sox down the stretch if he continues to pitch like he did Thursday.

"He's a big acquisition to the team, he's going to make us better and if keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to make us so much better and that's what we need right now," Rios said.

The White Sox have won 15 of their past 22 contests and increased their division lead over the Tigers, who were off Thursday, to 2 1/2 games.

Chicago will conclude its seven-game road trip with three games in Kansas City starting Friday.

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.