TORONTO (AP) — Hammered for a season-high seven runs in a blowout loss at Cincinnati last week, Blue Jays left-hander J.A Happ bounced back with his best start of the season.
Going up against the tired, scuffling Chicago White Sox didn’t hurt.
Adam Lind had three hits and three RBIs, Happ pitched a season-high 7 2-3 innings and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the White Sox 7-0 Thursday night.
Hit hard in an 11-1 loss to the Reds on Saturday, Happ said he used that poor start to motivate himself for this one.
“I put it behind me, but I did pitch a little upset, a little angry at myself,” Happ said. “That helps.”
Jose Reyes had four hits and scored twice as the AL East-leading Blue Jays reached the midpoint of the season at 45-36 and handed the struggling White Sox their seventh loss in eight games. Chicago lost for the 10th time in 11 road games.
“That game just smelled right from the start,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “We didn’t play very well, didn’t hit very well, didn’t play defense very well and it showed.”
Chicago was coming off a deflating, 12-inning loss at Baltimore on Wednesday that saw them blow a four-run lead in the eighth, then endure a rain delay in extra innings. They didn’t arrive at their Toronto hotel until almost sunrise.
“That type of circumstance does wear on you, especially when you’re playing back to back to back to back games, when you don’t have an off day for two weeks,” center fielder Adam Eaton said.
Lind hit an RBI double in the first, singled in the third and hit a two-run single in the fourth. He struck out in the seventh and, batting with runners at second and third in the eighth, flied out to the warning track in left.
Happ (7-4) allowed four hits to win for the third time in five starts. The left-hander walked two and struck out a season-high eight.
“He had some good life on his fastball,” White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham said. “I looked up in my last at-bat in the eighth and he was throwing it 94, 95. He was obviously feeling it a little bit.”
Happ’s high strikeout total was a good sign to Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
“You could see them swinging through pitches and that’s when you know he’s on,” Gibbons said of Happ. “He was fantastic tonight.”
Dustin McGowan got the final out of the eighth and Chad Jenkins finished as the Blue Jays recorded their 10th shutout. The White Sox were blanked for the sixth time.
Chicago lost Eaton in the first inning with cramps in his left leg. Leury Garcia took over in center.
“Just the way he was going down the line, it didn’t look good,” Ventura said of Eaton, who missed two weeks last month with a strained right hamstring.
Starting for the first time since May 19, White Sox right-hander Scott Carroll (2-4) allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings. Carroll, who walked two and struck out four, returned to the rotation in place of Andre Rienzo, who was moved to the bullpen.
NOTES: Eaton’s early exit ended his hitting streak at a career-high 12 games and snapped his streak of reaching base safely at 20 games, also a career best. ... Chicago designated LH Scott Downs for assignment and recalled LH Eric Surkamp from Triple-A Charlotte. ... White Sox assistant hitting coach Harold Baines will miss this four-game series while attending his daughter’s wedding. ... Toronto OF Jose Bautista will test his left hamstring Friday and hopes to return to the lineup this weekend. ... Blue Jays 2B Steve Tolleson, who missed Wednesday’s game with blurred vision, was available again after getting new glasses. Tolleson, who came on as a defensive replacement in the seventh, said doctors blamed his problems on an allergic reaction to contact lenses. ... White Sox LH John Danks (6-6) faces Blue Jays RH R.A. Dickey (6-6) on Friday.