White Sox can't handle Morrow as Blue Jays win 4-0
CHICAGO—With or without Paul Konerko in the lineup, the Chicago White Sox were in for a tough night against Toronto's Brandon Morrow.
Morrow had all his pitches working during a dominant two-hitter Wednesday night that sent the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-0 victory.
"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 of Morrow's performance, one that followed a strong effort Tuesday night by Ricky Romero in the Blue Jays' 9-5 win.
After the two losses, the White Sox's lead in the AL Central has been trimmed to a half-game over Cleveland.
"Guys throw like that, like the last two nights and it's tougher. It's just the way it goes," Ventura said. "You just put it behind you."
Konerko sat out a second straight game after having a bone chip flushed out of a joint in his left wrist. Chicago's first baseman has now missed three in a row overall after having the day off to rest last Sunday. Konerko said he hopes to play Thursday night when the White Sox try to avoid a three-game sweep.
A.J. Pierzynski had singles in the second and eighth innings for Chicago's only hits. Morrow (7-3) walked two in the ninth before striking out Dayan Viciedo to end it. At one point, he retired 14 straight.
"I didn't see the pitches that A.J. got the hits on, maybe those were a couple of mistakes," said Tyler Flowers, who started the game at first in place of Konerko and ended up behind the plate, where he is Pierzynski's backup.
"I seems like everyone was kind of in the same situation. He (Morrow) was aggressive, getting ahead and then the slider and split, at least the ones I saw, were pretty darn good. It makes it tough."
Jose Bautista hit his 15th homer, a solo shot off Chicago starter Jose Quintana (1-1) and Rajai Davis added a two-run shot in the ninth off reliever Hector Santiago.
Chicago's one chance for a rally came in the eighth after Pierzynski opened with his second single, but with the White Sox trailing 2-0, pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge was thrown out trying to steal second.
"It kills their rally there," Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia said. "I was fortunate to get a good pitch to throw on. Right out of the hand I knew I had a good throw on the way. It was a big out."
Quintana (1-1) gave up nine hits and two runs in six innings. He was making his first start since being ejected in the fourth inning against the Rays a week ago for throwing behind Ben Zobrist.
Quintana has pitched well while filling in for John Danks, who's been on the DL with a strained shoulder.
"He's proved he can pitch up here," Ventura said.
Morrow's performance came a week after he was hit by a line drive in the leg in a game against Baltimore, suffering a bruised shin.
"It felt fine for a few days. It's just sore to the touch. It doesn't hurt to move. There was no hesitation," Morrow said.
And he wasn't worried Wednesday night about another hard-hit ball coming at him through the box.
"There's that chance every time you take the mound. That's not something you think of. If it happens, it happens," he said. "I've been hit a few times."
NOTES: Danks threw a pain-free bullpen session of 30 to 40 pitches and said he'll probably pitch one rehab game next week before coming off the DL and returning to the rotation. ... Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion (right wrist) remained out of the lineup for the second consecutive game. He was hit in the wrist in the second inning on Sunday and left the game in the fifth. ...Yan Gomes was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and put in the lineup at first base. It is his second stint with Toronto this season. He was robbed of a hit in the second inning on a diving stab by White Sox third baseman Orlando Hudson.