The Associated Press
CHICAGO–Pitching in his home state for the first time since 2013, J.A. Happ looked more like the 20-game winner from a year ago than he has lately.
The left-hander had a season-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings, matching his longest start of the season, as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 yesterday afternoon.
“We had a big group here today, a lot of friends and family in town, so it feels good obviously to get the win and get out of here but also to pitch well in front of them, too,” said Happ, who had more than 20 friends and family members travel about 100 miles to Guaranteed Rate Field from Peru, Ill.
Happ (4-8) gave up a run and six hits while walking one to get his first win since July 4.
He last got through seven innings in his first start of the season back on April 5.
Justin Smoak extended his hitting streak to nine games and reached base three times for the Jays, who won two-of-three in a matchup of last-place teams.
Steve Pearce and Josh Donaldson added solo home runs.
Happ struck out the side in his final inning as the Jays won for just the second time in his last eight starts.
The Toronto bullpen struck out the side in the eighth inning around two walks as Dominic Leone, Aaron Loup, and Joe Biagini preserved the lead.
Roberto Osuna entered with two on and nobody out in the ninth inning but set down three-straight batters to earn his 27th save.
The Jays–playing for the 20th-straight day since the all-star break–have today off before a three-game weekend series against the AL-leading Houston Astros.
“I think we’re all excited for the off day,” Smoak said.
“Twenty in a row after the break is definitely not easy, so it’ll be a happy flight to Houston.”
Derek Holland (5-11) gave up two runs and five hits with four walks in six innings.
The left-hander came into the game with a 9.46 ERA in his past 10 starts.
“This is definitely a good start to build off,” Holland said. “Probably the only thing I would say is disappointing is four walks.
“That kills you from going later into the game, I should say,” he noted.
“But I thought everything else was working perfect.”
Smoak drove in Donaldson with a double in the third inning to open the scoring.
The all-star first baseman had homered in each of the first two games of the series.
Pearce hit his 11th home run of the season on Holland’s first pitch of the sixth inning–his third round-tripper in seven games.
Russell Martin had an RBI single and Kevin Pillar later scored on a Jake Petricka wild pitch in the eighth inning.
Donaldson homered on the first pitch of the ninth for his third-straight game with a homer and fourth in six games.
Leury Garcia had an RBI single in the sixth inning for the rebuilding White Sox, who lost for the 19th time in 23 games.
“Honestly, today I’m not thinking about 19 games,” said manager Rick Renteria.
“I’m not thinking about the last 23; just today what went right and what went wrong,” he noted.
The Jays won their first road series against the White Sox since 2012.
Martin stole career base No. 100 in the game.
In addition, Pillar played in his 500th career game for Toronto.
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit beat New York 2-0, Baltimore dumped Kansas City 6-0, Tampa Bay blanked Houston 3-0, and Texas downed Seattle 5-1.
Cleveland at Boston was postponed.
Over in the NL, Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh 5-2, Miami dumped Washington 7-0, Atlanta downed L.A. 5-3, Arizona blanked Chicago 3-0, St. Louis topped Milwaukee 5-4, and New York doubled Colorado 10-5.