TORONTO — When the bats are this cold, the Toronto Blue Jays need to make every hit count.
The long ball did the trick Friday night as Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez went deep in a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox that ended Toronto’s five-game losing skid.
"To get a couple big home runs tonight and get runs early, that always helps," said Toronto slugger Justin Smoak, who walked four times.
The Blue Jays were wretched over a three-game sweep this week as Minnesota outscored Toronto 20-1. The Jays also entered this game with a meagre .140 team average the first time through the lineup.
Grichuk belted a three-run homer in the first inning off Chicago starter Dylan Covey and Hernandez added a solo shot in the second. Seven Toronto pitchers made appearances as the Blue Jays improved to 16-22.
The thin Blue Jays’ rotation was dealt a blow earlier in the day when Clay Buchholz (shoulder) was added to the 10-day injured list. Reliever Daniel Hudson got the start with essentially a four-out maximum.
"That’s the one thing about using an opener," said Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo. "There’s a lot of managing involved. It goes from the first pitch on, it depends how far the opener goes. We kind of had it set up more or less how it worked out."
Hudson gave up back-to-back doubles in the opening frame. Yoan Moncada lashed the first one off the top of the wall and scored on a Jose Abreu liner that Grichuk mistimed in right field.
Blue Jays rookie infielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr., — sporting high socks for a change, perhaps in a bid to end his slump — was moved to the No. 2 spot from fifth in the batting order.
The changes didn’t work. Guerrero grounded into a double play in his first at-bat and went 0-for-4 as his average slipped to .146.
"He’s going to see more pitches," Montoyo said. "He’s got Smoak behind him and he’s going to get good pitches to hit. He’s going to get it."
Smoak and Rowdy Tellez walked later in the first before Grichuk turned on his sixth homer of the year.
Hernandez, meanwhile, hit his third homer of the season and first since April 18.
Toronto’s piecemeal pitching situation continued in the third inning as Sam Gaviglio replaced Thomas Pannone, who got five outs without giving up a run.
The White Sox (16-21) cut into the lead in the fifth on a Tim Anderson solo shot.
Anderson, who bantered with Grichuk about bat-tossing last month on Twitter, kept his celebration in check this time around. It was his seventh homer of the year.
Gaviglio was replaced by southpaw Tim Mayza in the sixth inning. The White Sox put runners on the corners before Mayza fanned Nicky Delmonico to snuff the threat.
With reliever Ryan Tepera on for the seventh, Anderson was thrown out at first base after a nice play by shortstop Freddy Galvis. Chicago challenged the call and it was overturned.
Charlie Tilson singled and both runners advanced on a Ryan Cordell sacrifice bunt. Anderson made it a one-run game when he scored on a slow grounder by Leury Garcia.
Joe Biagini (2-1) threw 1 1/3 shutout innings of relief for the victory and Ken Giles worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save.
Covey (0-2) allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings.
"The cutter is what hurt me today," he said. "Both home runs were on the cutter. I couldn’t really locate it, couldn’t really dial it in."
The White Sox outhit Toronto 6-5. Announced attendance was 20,402 for the opener of the three-game series.
Notes: Giles earned the 100th save of his career. … The game took three hours eight minutes to play. … Hudson was drafted by the White Sox in 2008. It was his 61st career start. … Marcus Stroman (1-5, 2.96 earned-run average) was scheduled to start Saturday afternoon against fellow right-hander Ivan Nova (1-3, 7.04) of Chicago.