White Sox-Blue Jays Preview

Jeff Samardzija's tenure with the Chicago White Sox not only included some rocky moments on the mound, but also a five-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing brawl.

He's performed more like the pitcher the White Sox expected over his last two outings, and they sure could use another solid effort to help break their slump.

Samardzija faces a surging Toronto Blue Jays lineup as visiting Chicago looks to avoid an eighth defeat in nine games in Wednesday's series finale.

The right-hander allowed at least four runs in four of his first seven starts and was suspended for participating in a fight that escalated with Kansas City on April 23.

Samardzija (4-2, 4.28 ERA), who was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland and is in the final year of his contract, has rebounded to win back-to-back starts. He gave up three runs in eight innings of a 7-3 win over the A's on May 17 before allowing two runs and three hits in eight innings of Friday's 3-2 win over Minnesota.

''The last two times out, I've felt really good,'' Samardzija said. ''Me and (pitching coach Don Cooper) made some adjustments in what we're doing, just trying to keep me back and not so aggressive all the time. But (also trying to) understand when you need to add and understand when you need to subtract.''

Samardzija's win over the Twins marks the only victory for Chicago (19-24) over its last eight. He pitched well in his only career outing against the Blue Jays, giving up one run and four hits over seven innings in a 4-2 victory July 6.

Toronto (22-26), though, has scored 24 runs and collected six homers and 11 doubles during a season high-tying three-game win streak. Josh Donaldson had a solo homer in the first inning Tuesday then hit a walkoff three-run shot in the ninth to give the Blue Jays a 10-9 victory.

Donaldson, who finished 4 for 4 with a walk and scored five times, also homered in Monday's 6-0 win after going 2 for 19 over his previous five.

''Some guys kind of thrive for that moment and he's got that mindset,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''He's just one of those guys, he just wants to be the guy, the hero.''

Jose Bautista missed the previous two with a sore right shoulder, but he played after taking a cortisone shot and finished with three doubles and five RBIs. He expects to be back at DH as the Blue Jays go for the sweep with Marco Estrada on the mound.

Estrada (1-3, 3.90) is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts since joining the rotation after Daniel Norris was sent to Triple-A on May 1. He had his longest effort Friday, giving up four runs and throwing 101 pitches in seven innings of a 4-3 loss to Seattle.

The right-hander had made 27 straight appearances out of the bullpen including his time with Milwaukee last season.

"The first two times out, I was pretty tired by the third or fourth inning, felt a little fatigued," Estrada said. "(Friday), I could have kept going. Now I've gone up to seven innings, 100 pitches. I'm ready to go now. "

Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer Tuesday for the White Sox, who matched their run total from the previous five games.

Chicago expects outfielder Avisail Garcia to sit out again after he left Monday's contest with a right knee injury.


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