Blue Jays-White Sox Preview
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Strong starting pitching has been a major factor during the Toronto Blue Jays' three-game winning streak.
Jake Peavy hopes the Chicago White Sox can end that trend and provide him with the run support he's accustomed to receiving.
The Blue Jays look to sweep three games from the White Sox in Chicago for the first time in more than 22 years Thursday night while matching their longest winning streak of the season.
Toronto starters have a 1.57 ERA during the run after Brandon Morrow tossed a two-hitter in Wednesday's 4-0 victory over the White Sox, allowing only singles to A.J. Pierzynski in the second and eighth innings.
"It's just one of those days when you run into a guy that puts it to you and just overmatches you," Chicago manager Robin Ventura said.
"Guys throw like that, like the last two nights, and it's tougher."
Ricky Romero pitched into the eighth inning in a 9-5 victory in Tuesday's series opener.
Jose Bautista homered for the third time in four games Wednesday for the Blue Jays, who are looking to win four straight for the fourth time in 2012.
Toronto (30-26) hasn't completed a three-game sweep in Chicago since Sept. 4-6, 1989, at old Comiskey Park, and it will send Henderson Alvarez (3-5, 3.75 ERA) to the hill looking to accomplish the feat.
Alvarez, though, dropped to 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA over his last four starts by allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-2 loss to Boston on Friday. Manager John Farrell lauded his second-year right-hander because Alvarez remained in the game after taking a comebacker off the shin to start the fifth inning.
Alvarez said through an interpreter that he thought his leg was broken.
"Henderson kept us in the ballgame," Farrell said. "He didn't feel any ill effects from the ground ball off the shin, stayed in it."
Alvarez pitched well in his only previous start against the White Sox, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 2-1 loss Sept. 27.
Chicago (31-25) had its AL Central lead trimmed to one-half game Wednesday after being shut out for the first time since May 12, and it will try for a better offensive showing with Peavy (6-1, 3.05) on the hill Thursday.
Peavy had a solid outing Friday, although he didn't get a decision after allowing two runs and three hits through 6 1-3 innings of Chicago's 7-4 win over Seattle. He had a 6.50 ERA over his previous three starts, still winning two as the offense that's providing him with 6.22 runs of support per nine innings bailed him out at times.
Overall, though, the right-hander is enjoying his best season with the White Sox following two injury-plagued campaigns after they acquired the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner from San Diego midway through 2009.
Peavy has made one start versus the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field, allowing two runs and three hits in eight innings of a 7-3 victory May 8, 2010.
The White Sox hope to have Paul Konerko back in the lineup Thursday after the AL batting leader (.366) missed his third straight game due to a minor procedure to remove a bone chip in his wrist.
"It's just a matter of getting the soreness out," Konerko told the team's official website.
Chicago has lost three of four since its nine-game winning streak, which capped a 13-1 stretch.
Updated June 7, 2012