|Cincinnati's Adam Dunn connects off Ryan Dempster for a 463-foot, two-run homer in a 5-3 victory over the Cubs. (Al Behrman/Associated Press)|
The White Sox couldn't ask for much more from their pitchers right now. After a winless road trip, however, Chicago's hitters have a lot to answer for.
Dustin McGowan outpitched Javier Vazquez in an entertaining duel, and Matt Stairs homered to help the Blue Jays beat the slumping White Sox, 1-0, last night for a four-game sweep in Toronto.
Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan walked the bases loaded in the ninth inning but got Pablo Ozuna to ground into a 1-2-3 double play to end the game, earning his fifth save.
"It was a heartbreaker," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Everybody got excited a little bit because we finally got something going and all of a sudden, the double play ends it."
It was Toronto's first four-game sweep since May 2003 against the Yankees.
McGowan (2-2) gave up four hits in 7 1/3 innings to win for the first time in three starts. He walked none, struck out six, and retired 16 consecutive batters during one stretch.
Blue Jays pitchers have a major league-best 1.02 ERA since April 26, helping Toronto win five in a row after losing eight of nine.
"I'm just trying to pick up where the other guys left off," McGowan said. "I don't want to be the one to mess up this string of starts for us."
Stairs hit a leadoff homer in the seventh off Vazquez (3-3), who struck out nine while throwing 120 pitches in 7 2/3 innings.
Stairs was 1 for 29 against Vazquez before taking him deep, and said he was "praying for contact" when he lifted a breaking ball over the wall in right.
"I got lucky," Stairs said. "He threw a curveball and probably wanted to bounce it. He kept it up a little and it was down in that hockey swing."
Chicago lost twice in Minnesota before coming to Toronto, and has not won since beating Baltimore April 27.
"The thing that makes me sad is the way we've pitched," Guillen said. "We can't help our pitching staff to win games. They've kept us in games since we left Chicago and it's been one week with the same offense, nothing really getting going."
Yesterday's loss was Chicago's season-high sixth straight and the White Sox have dropped nine of 12 overall. They've scored nine runs in their past six games and have the American League's lowest batting average at .229.
Angels 4, Royals 0 - Ervin Santana extended his outstanding start by pitching a four-hitter, and Garret Anderson and Brandon Wood hit consecutive homers in a four-run ninth inning to lead visiting Los Angeles. Santana gave up just four hits, striking out nine without a walk. It was his second career complete game, his first since hurling a five-hit shutout against the White Sox May 23, 2005.
Cardinals 6, Rockies 5 - Albert Pujols scored from second base on a groundout in the ninth inning to lift visiting St. Louis. After a one-out double to right, Pujols took off on contact as Rick Ankiel grounded out to second baseman Jonathan Herrera, who never glanced at Pujols before lofting a throw to Todd Helton at first. Pujols turned on the speed after rounding third and slid just out of the reach of Yorvit Torrealba, who lunged forward in an effort to tag him.
Reds 5, Cubs 3 - Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer deep into the seats in right field, and rookie Johnny Cueto got back to hitting the corners with his 95-mile-per-hour fastball, leading host Cincinnati to a slump-busting victory. The Reds ended a five-game losing streak by taking advantage of a pair of errors that set up five unearned runs off Ryan Dempster (4-1), who lost for the first time since switching from closer to starter.
Mariners 7, Rangers 3 - Wladimir Balentien and Richie Sexson homered to back starter Jarrod Washburn as host Seattle ended a five-game losing streak.
Dodgers 5, Mets 1 - Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff homer, Blake DeWitt connected for his first home run in the majors, and host Los Angeles won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Phillies 11, Diamondbacks 4 - Jamie Moyer pitched seven strong innings and had an RBI double as Philadelphia routed host Arizona in a matchup of division leaders.
Athletics 2, Orioles 1 - Emil Brown singled home the winning run in the 10th inning for his third hit to lift host Oakland. A's closer Huston Street blew his second save in 11 chances, giving up the tying run in the ninth.