A string of impressive starting pitching has helped the Toronto Blue Jays to their longest winning streak of the season.
The Blue Jays are looking to continue their strong work on the mound while securing their first four-game sweep of the slumping Chicago White Sox when the teams wrap up their series on Monday.
Toronto (15-17) has boasted one of the best pitching staffs in the majors this season, compiling a 3.37 ERA thus far. But the rotation, specifically, has emerged with excellent numbers over the past eight games, posting a 1.22 ERA, while giving up just 11 runs and walking only 13 over 59 innings in that span.
Blue Jays starters have held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in all of those games, pitching into the seventh inning in every outing.
“They’re on a roll right now,” manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays’ official Web site on Saturday. “You can’t expect them to do that every night, but right now, they’re in a nice little groove.”
Toronto posted shutouts in the first two games of its current four-game win streak, and has surrendered just five runs in its last two games.
Staff ace Roy Halladay, who had turned in four consecutive complete games but lost his previous three outings, combined with three relievers on a four-hitter to give the surging Blue Jays a 4-3 victory over the White Sox (14-15) on Sunday.
Designated hitter Matt Stairs had two RBIs for the Blue Jays, who have won each of their last four games versus the White Sox—their longest winning streak against them since a six-game run from Aug. 27, 1997-April 24, 1998.
The Blue Jays, who have never completed a four-game sweep of the White Sox, hope to continue their run of dominant starting pitching behind Dustin McGowan (1-2, 3.57 ERA).
In his last outing, he didn’t receive a decision after yielding just one run and four hits over 7 1-3 innings of a 2-1 loss at Boston on Wednesday.
McGowan is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in three career appearances against the White Sox, winning in Toronto on June 2.
The right-hander is 9-3 with a 3.24 ERA in his last 15 starts at Rogers Centre, where the White Sox have dropped five consecutive games overall.
Chicago has also lost a season-high five straight and eight of its last 11 to dip below .500 for the first time since they were 1-2 on April 3.
On Sunday, starter Jose Contreras tossed the fifth complete game of his career, but the offense did little to back his performance. The White Sox, who are last in the AL with a .232 average, have scored just nine runs in their last five games.
“We’ve been wasting a lot of good pitching on our side,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Our pitching staff is doing a tremendous job and we’re not helping them win more games.”
The White Sox hope to salvage the finale of a six-game road trip behind Javier Vazquez (3-2, 3.72), who earned the club’s last victory at Rogers Centre.
The right-hander is 4-5 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 career starts versus the Blue Jays, but is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four games at Toronto. In his last outing there, he gave up just six hits over eight innings in a 3-0 victory on June 1.
Vazquez was just as effective on Monday, despite walking away without a decision. He gave up a run, four hits and struck out seven over eight innings against Baltimore, but the game was suspended after 11 innings, because of worsening rain conditions.