CHICAGO -- The offense finally showed some signs of life, but unfortunately for the Blue Jays it came on a night when the pitching staff fell apart.
Toronto saw its recent struggles continue, but for the first time in quite a while the everyday lineup wasn't to blame. It's the pitching staff that was left battered and bruised.
Right-hander Marcus Stroman didn't make it out of the first inning and Todd Redmond wasn't any better as the White Sox scored early and often in Toronto's 11-5 loss on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field.
"It was one of those games, he has been so good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Stroman. "They happen every now and then, but he has been on a nice little roll. He had trouble getting anybody out, we got our bullpen back on track the last few days in Seattle, guys were rested, but we had to go to them early tonight."
Stroman has been the Blue Jays' best starter for the past couple of months. With the exception of a couple of rough outings, he has been everything the Blue Jays could have hoped for and more. That certainly wasn't the case in Chicago.
The 23-year-old wasn't fooling any of the White Sox hitters. Stroman allowed a lead off double and then hit the second batter he faced. That turned out to be just the beginning of what turned into the shortest start of his still young career.
Stroman pitched to eight batters before Gibbons was forced to make a move. Before the inning came to an end, Stroman was charged with five runs on five hits and a walk thrown in for good measure. To say it wasn't his night would be a drastic understatement.
"There's a lot of emotion that goes into this game, you want to do everything in your power to put your team in a position to win and I did everything but that today," Stroman said. "Kind of let that out a little bit, but tomorrow is a new day. Just focused on getting back to it and looking forward to my next start."
Toronto's bullpen came in fully rested after Thursday's off-day but wasn't able to provide much relief. Right-hander Chad Jenkins was decent enough over 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits and one walk while striking out three, but the same couldn't be said for the next in line.
Redmond played a key role in Chicago's second five-run inning of the game. In the fifth, he allowed six consecutive singles and then walked a batter before getting pulled. Redmond was charged with five runs on six hits and two walks in his worst outing of the season. The six consecutive hits were a season high for the White Sox.
Toronto also needed to use Dustin McGowan, Aaron Sanchez, Aaron Loup and Casey Janssen out of the bullpen to get through nine innings. That forced the club to option Jenkins to Triple-A Buffalo after the loss with a corresponding move to follow on Saturday.
All of this came against a team that entered play hitting .208 over its previous eight games. Chicago hadn't scored more than three runs since Aug. 4, but the club broke out of its prolonged slump in a big way against the Blue Jays. It's the second time this week Toronto allowed 11 runs and the third time it allowed at least six.
"I think the offense was great tonight," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "To be able to bounce back and give up one in the first. Just battle back, answer that, and put together a really great inning against a hot pitcher. It was good to see the offense do this tonight."
Initially, it looked like the Blue Jays would have a chance of getting back into the game. Toronto entered the top of the second inning trailing 5-1, but quickly cut the deficit to one. Colby Rasmus led off with a double and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Jose Reyes. Melky Cabrera followed by hitting a two-run homer to right-center field, but that was the end of the positive news for the Blue Jays.
With the loss, Toronto dropped to 4 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card. The Blue Jays have five more losses than both the Tigers and Mariners, whom they are chasing for that final spot. Toronto also has lost all four games on its current road trip and will have to turn things around in a hurry with two more games remaining in Chicago.
"Win a ballgame, that's all it takes," Gibbons said. "It's not always that easy though."