Chicago (48-56) hasn’t swept a series at U.S. Cellular Field since taking three games against Detroit from Aug. 11-13 last season. The White Sox are just 34-38 at home since, including 24-27 this year for the third-worst mark in the American League.
Behind strong starts from Jon Garland and Mark Buehrle, however, the White Sox have taken the first two games of this series and are looking to win four straight overall for the first time since June 25-28. Garland gave up three runs over 7 1-3 innings in a 4-3 win on Friday.
Buehrle was even better Saturday night, as he outdueled Toronto ace Roy Halladay in a 2-0 victory. The left-hander scattered eight hits over eight innings and Bobby Jenks finished up for his 30th save to overcome Halladay’s complete game.
Rookie Jerry Owens provided all the scoring with the first homer of his career - a two-run homer shot in the seventh inning.
“To be honest with you, I tried to hit a hard ground ball,” said Owens, who went 2-for-4 to snap out of a 1-for-12 skid. “I happened to get under it. All the home runs that I’ve ever hit in my life have been on accident, and this one was on accident too.”
The White Sox also debuted new second baseman Danny Richar, who batted ninth and went 2-for-3 in his first major league game. Richar will play second regularly in the wake of Friday’s trade that sent Tadahito Iguchi to Philadelphia.
Chicago will turn to its hottest starter in Javier Vazquez (8-5, 3.71 ERA), who hasn’t lost since June 11 and is 5-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his last seven starts. He pitched well Tuesday to beat Detroit, allowing three runs over eight innings of a 5-3 victory.
The right-hander, who is limiting opponents to a .209 batting average at home, has already beaten Toronto once this year. He yielded six hits over eight innings in a 3-0 victory on June 1.
Vazquez improved to 4-4 with a 4.76 ERA in 11 career starts against the Blue Jays.
Toronto (51-52) has lost two straight following a five-game winning streak. Saturday’s loss came after a players-only meeting called in the wake of critical comments starter Josh Towers made about the team and coaches.
“I always understand frustration,” Blue Jays catcher Gregg Zaun said before the game. “I never understand throwing teammates and coaches under the bus.”
Toronto starter Shaun Marcum (6-4, 3.87) will make his second career start against Chicago. He lasted just three innings and gave up three runs and four hits in a 4-3 win on June 3 - his shortest start of the year.
Since joining the rotation on May 13, Marcum has gone 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA. He gave up four runs over six innings in a 6-4 victory over Minnesota on Monday.