BLUE JAYS WIN

Smoak ex­tends hit­ting streak to nine games; Don­ald­son, Pearce hit home runs

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - MATT SCHOCH

CHICAGO — Pitch­ing in his home state for the first time since 2013, J.A. Happ looked more like the 20game win­ner from a year ago than he has lately.

The left-han­der had a sea­son­high 10 strike­outs in seven in­nings, match­ing his long­est start of the sea­son, as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox, 5-1, Wed­nes­day.

“We had a big group here to­day, a lot of friends and fam­ily in town, so it feels good ob­vi­ously to get the win and get out of here — but also to pitch well in front of them too,” said Happ, who had more than 20 friends and fam­ily mem­bers travel about 160 kilo­me­tres to Guar­an­teed Rate Field from Peru, Ill.

Happ (4-8) gave up a run and six hits while walk­ing one to get his first win since July 4. He last got through seven in­nings in his first start of the sea­son on April 5.

Justin Smoak ex­tended his hit­ting streak to nine games and reached base three times for the Blue Jays, who won two of three in a matchup of last-place teams. Steve Pearce and Josh Don­ald­son added solo home runs.

Happ struck out the side in his fi­nal in­ning and the Blue Jays won for the sec­ond time in his last eight starts and also won for the third time in four games.

The Toronto bullpen struck out the side in the eighth in­ning around two walks, as Do­minic Leone, Aaron Loup and Joe Bi­agini pre­served the lead. Roberto Osuna en­tered with two on and no­body out in the ninth in­ning, and set down three straight bat­ters to earn his 27th save.

The Blue Jays were play­ing for the 20th straight day since the all­star break and have a day off Thursday be­fore a three-game week­end se­ries against the AL-lead­ing Hous­ton Astros.

“I think we’re all ex­cited for the off day,” Smoak said. “Twenty in a row af­ter the break is def­i­nitely not easy, so it’ll be a happy flight to Hous­ton.”

Derek Hol­land (5-11) gave up two runs and five hits with four walks in six in­nings. The left-han­der came into the game with a 9.46 ERA in his past 10 starts.

Smoak drove in Don­ald­son with a dou­ble in the third in­ning to open the scor­ing. The All-Star first base­man had home­red in each of the first two games of the se­ries.

Pearce hit his 11th home run of the sea­son on Hol­land’s first pitch of the sixth in­ning. It was his third home run in seven games.

Rus­sell Martin had an RBI sin­gle and Kevin Pil­lar later scored on a Jake Pet­ricka wild pitch in the eighth in­ning.

Don­ald­son home­red on the first pitch of the ninth for his third straight game and fourth in six games.

Leury Gar­cia had an RBI sin­gle in the sixth in­ning for the re­build­ing White Sox, who lost for the 19th time in 23 games. WINDY CITY WIN Toronto won its first road se­ries against the White Sox since 2012. MILE­STONES Martin stole ca­reer base No. 100, and Pil­lar played in his 500th ca­reer game for Toronto. UP NEXT Jays RHP Ce­sar Valdez (1-0, 6.59 ERA) op­poses Astros RHP Brad Pea­cock (9-1, 2.26) on Friday.

JEFF HAYNES, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Starter J.A. Happ (4-8) gave up a run and six hits while walk­ing one in seven in­nings for his first win since July 4.

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