The White Sox hope Owens can build on that performance Saturday, when they continue a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Owens was 2-for-4 on Friday with two runs scored in the White Sox’s 3-0 win over Toronto (25-29). He stole second base in the eighth inning and eventually scored Chicago’s final run.
“Stealing bases and running is what I do best,” he said. “When I’m out there at first base, taking my lead, I’m at home, I’m comfortable.”
Owens, who was recalled Friday after the White Sox (25-25) placed outfielder Darin Erstad on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained ankle he suffered Thursday against the Blue Jays, was making his season debut. He appeared in 12 games in 2006, batting .333 (3-for-9).
“That’s what we need,” said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who called a team meeting after the game. “We need to get something going on. He was in the right place at the right time.”
Guillen’s 10-minute post-game pep talk came following a solid outing by starter Javier Vazquez, who limited Toronto to six hits over eight innings. Closer Bobby Jenks pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16 opportunities.
The Blue Jays, who were shut out for just the second time this season, did not have an extra-base hit until pinch-hitter Howie Clark’s two-out double in the eighth. Alex Rios followed with a sharp single, but Lyle Overbay flied out to end the threat.
“As a team we’ve got to focus and do better,” said Overbay, who is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
The White Sox will try to win consecutive road games for the first time since doing so May 9-10 at Minnesota behind right-hander Jose Contreras (4-5, 4.45 ERA).
Contreras has alternated wins and losses in his nine decisions and is trying to regroup from a rough outing. He allowed seven runs and a season-high 10 hits in just 5 1-3 innings—his second-shortest outing of the season—of a 10-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday.
He is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in four starts and nine lifetime appearances against the Blue Jays. Contreras has not defeated them since Sept. 4, 2003, when he pitched for the New York Yankees, and is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in his last three starts versus Toronto.
The Blue Jays will counter with Dustin McGowan (1-2, 5.90), who is coming off his first win in more than a year. The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 7-2 win over the Yankees on Monday, striking out seven for his first win since May 3, 2006, against Boston.
“It just felt good to get one,” McGowan told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “It’s been bugging me. I didn’t even have one in Triple-A this year. I haven’t known what it feels like to get one in a while.”
McGowan has made one start and one relief appearance against the White Sox, pitching a combined 7 2-3 innings against them. He has allowed eight runs and eight hits during that stretch.
The Blue Jays haven’t lost back-to-back games since a season-high nine-game losing streak from May 1-10.