CHICAGO — – Dallas Keuchel pitched six effective innings, Yasmani Grandal homered and the Chicago White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Thursday night.
Led by Keuchel, Chicago closed out a 5-2 homestand and improved its AL Central lead to a season-high 4 1/2 games over idle Cleveland. Adam Engel also went deep, and reigning AL MVP José Abreu hit two RBI doubles.
It was the first game for the White Sox since they placed second baseman Nick Madrigal on the injured list with a torn right hamstring. Madrigal got hurt when he tried to beat out a grounder in the seventh inning of Wednesday night’s 6-2 loss to Toronto.
Chicago has been hit hard by injuries this year, but it keeps rolling along.
The loss of Madrigal is «a big blow, but the games still count and we have to go forward,» manager Tony La Russa said.
Marcus Semien and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. each drove in a run for Toronto, which lost for the fourth time in six games. Hyun Jin Ryu (5-4) pitched six innings of three-run ball in his second straight loss.
Infield hits by Joe Panik and Santiago Espinal set up Semien’s two-out RBI single in the fifth. A mental gaffe by White Sox third baseman Yoán Moncada paved the way for the Blue Jays’ second run in the sixth.
With one out and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. on first, Moncada fielded Randal Grichuk’s grounder and threw to first instead of going to second to get the lead runner. Guerrero advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Gurriel’s two-out single, trimming Chicago’s lead to 3-2.
But Keuchel (5-1) escaped the jam by retiring Riley Adams on a fly ball to center with two runners on. Engel then hit his first homer of the season in the seventh, sending a solo drive deep to center against Anthony Castro.
After Keuchel departed, Evan Marshall and Codi Heuer each got three outs before Liam Hendriks worked the ninth for his AL-leading 16th save.
The White Sox got off to a fast start against Ryu, scoring three times in the first. Abreu doubled home Yermín Mercedes before Grandal hit an opposite-field drive to right for his 10th homer.
Blue Jays: OF George Springer (quad strain) ran the bases and took batting practice. But there was no word on a timeline for a potential rehab assignment. «I don’t want to speculate or say when that’s going to happen, but he’s for sure closer to starting a rehab assignment,» manager Charlie Montoyo said. … 3B-OF Cavan Biggio (sprained spine ligament) went 0 for 2 with a walk during a rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo. Depending on how Biggio feels, Montoyo said there’s a good chance he will rejoin the Blue Jays this weekend in Boston.
White Sox: General manager Rick Hahn said RHP Michael Kopech (strained left hamstring) is going to start throwing bullpens soon and possibly take the mound for a simulated game. Depending on how it goes, he could go out on a rehab assignment or just go back on the active roster.
Blue Jays: RHP Ross Stripling (2-3, 4.71 ERA) faces Red Sox RHP Garrett Richards (4-4, 3.88 ERA) on Friday night in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park. Stripling is going for his third straight win.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (5-5, 3.88 ERA) starts Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Detroit. Giolito is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in two starts against the Tigers this year. LHP Tarik Skubal (3-7, 4.33 ERA) takes the mound for Detroit.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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