CHICAGO (AP) — Jose Abreu and the Chicago White Sox didn’t need to play long ball to blast the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Abreu had three singles and three RBIs to increase his major league-leading total to 89, and the White Sox had 17 hits in an 11-5 victory.
Adam Dunn, who also had three hits, and Dayan Viciedo each drove in two runs. Seven White Sox starters had at least two hits and only one, Tyler Flowers, went hitless as Chicago had 14 singles and three doubles.
Abreu is in a three-way tie for the major league lead in homers with 31, but hasn’t slugged one since July 29. White Sox manager Robin Ventura is still impressed with his rookie first baseman.
“I think you’re looking at the professional side of his hitting,” Ventura said. “I think everybody goes through a stretch where you don’t quite have that feeling to hit homers.
“Don’t try to do too much. Don’t be the hero,” he added. “Not trying to hit it over the fence. Just put it in play and good things will happen.”
Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays, who have lost four straight and 10 of 13 to drop four games behind Seattle in the AL wild-card race.
Hector Noesi (7-8) settled down after allowing four runs in the first two innings and pitched five-plus innings for his fourth win in five decisions. Javy Guerra, Maikel Cleto and Daniel Webb allowed one hit over the final four.
Ventura said he pulled Noesi because he had been hit in the thigh by a batted ball and the area was tightening. But Noesi, who won with his mother watching in the stands, had ample offensive support.
“It was good because my location was a little off today.” Noesi said. “I was trying to fight a little bit.”
Marcus Stroman (7-4) gave up five runs, five hits and hit a batter while getting only two outs in his shortest outing since joining the Blue Jays’ rotation on May 31.
“It’s disappointing because we scored four runs in the first two innings and I couldn’t help my team keep in position to get a win,” Stroman said.
Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion was hitless as the DH after being activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game.
Ten of the first 15 White Sox hitters reached base as Chicago scored five runs in the first inning and added one in the second. Viciedo singled twice in the span and drove in two runs.
The Blue Jays scored a run in the first and three in the second against Noesi, including Cabrera’s two-run shot, to make it 6-4.
The White Sox added five runs in the fifth to put it away. They opened the inning with six straight singles — a season high for consecutive hits — a walk and wild pitch against Todd Redmond, Toronto’s second reliever.
Encarnacion, a two-time All-Star, missed more than a month because of a strained right quadriceps muscle. He has played 70 of 91 games this season at first base, but manager John Gibbons plans to ease Encarnacion back onto the field.
“He’ll have to play first base, but he was running guarded a little bit,” Gibbons said. “If we don’t have to, we’ll let him DH the first few games anyway.”
The Blue Jays sent outfielder Anthony Gose to the Triple-A Buffalo to make roster room for Encarnacion. They also optioned RHP Chad Jenkins to Buffalo after the game.
Outfielder Avisail Garcia, out since April 9 (torn labrum in left shoulder) has progressed in a rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte and could be back as early as this weekend, according to Ventura. Garcia has 17 hits in 50 at-bats (.340), the number of plate appearances Ventura said Garcia needed to reach.
Toronto LHP Mark Buehrle (11-8, 3.31) will face Chicago LHP John Danks (9-8, 4.96) on Saturday. Buehrle will take the mound at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since leaving the White Sox three years ago.
Buehrle has made two starts in Toronto (1-1) against Chicago, where he pitched for the first 12 years of his career.
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How has Buehrle, the former White Sox ace who’s now 35, changed since leaving Chicago following the 2011 season?
“Ten pounds heavier, throw slower,” he said. “I’m not as agile on the mound as I used to be. My body hurts.”
Adam Lind rejoined the Blue Jays from the DL on Tuesday in Seattle at was at first base on Friday. Lind has just four homers and 27 RBIs in 63 games with a .319 average, but last year hit 23 homers with 67 RBIs.
The Blue Jays are counting on him and Encarnacion for an offensive boost down the stretch.
“Early in the season when we were winning a lot of games, a lot of it was we were scoring a lot of runs,” Gibbons said. “These guys are a big part of our team.”