Jake Peavy hopes to help the Chicago White Sox cure their troubles at Rogers Centre when the American League Central leaders head north of the border for the first of four games with the banged-up Toronto Blue Jays.
The ChiSox, who lead Detroit by a slim two-game margin in the Central, have lost 15 of their last 18 tests in Toronto and come in after finishing a nine- game homestand with a mediocre 5-4 mark.
Chicago, which is starting a seven-game road trip on Monday, closed its residency by taking two of three from Oakland, including Sunday's 7-3 rubber match win.
A.J. Pierzynski clubbed a tiebreaking, two-run homer in that one to highlight a five-run sixth inning to lift the White Sox. Gordon Beckham added a two-out, two-run single later in the frame for Chicago, which has won 12 of its last 18 games overall.
All-Star Chris Sale (14-3) continued his home dominance by striking out 11 over 6 2/3 innings. The southpaw gave up home runs to Jonny Gomes and Adam Rosales among six hits, improving to 6-0 over his last seven outings at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I'd put him up there with anybody," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura of Sale. "He's young, but he's still one of the best guys in the league."
Peavy, the former 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner with San Diego, takes the hill in the opener and has pitched well in his two starts versus the Blue Jays this season, compiling a 1-0 mark with a sterling 2.03 ERA. Overall, the right- hander is 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA in four starts against Toronto.
The Blue Jays come in after halting a five-game losing streak by topping the New York Yankees, 10-7, in the finale of a three-game set in the Bronx.
Rajai Davis drove in five runs and made a superb defensive play, as Toronto avoided the sweep. Edwin Encarnacion punctuated a six-run fourth inning with his 30th homer of the season for the Blue Jays, who continue to play without injured regulars Jose Bautista (wrist), Brett Lawrie (oblique), Adam Lind (back) and J.P. Arencibia (hand).
"Finally a good offensive day," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell. "In the fourth and fifth innings, we were able to finally create some separation on the offensive side."
Carlos Villanueva takes the ball for Toronto on Monday. The Dominican right- hander is 4-2 since joining the rotation in late June but has dropped his starts, including a 3-2 setback to Tampa Bay last Wednesday when he allowed three runs over six innings. In three career appearances versus Chicago, Villanueva has not recorded a decision and has compiled a shaky 5.63 ERA.