Ex-Jays haunt old club

White Sox batter Alex Rios hits a home run against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago,...

White Sox batter Alex Rios hits a home run against the Blue Jays at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill., June 7, 2012. (JONATHAN DANIEL/Getty Images/AFP)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:16 AM ET

CHICAGO - Apparently, you can teach an O-Dog new tricks.

In his days as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays back in the day, Orlando Hudson was a magician with his glove and something less than that with his bat.

Thursday night, however, Hudson had the last laugh against his old team, drilling a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in the winning run in a 4-3 Chicago White Sox win. With the victory, the White Sox avoided the first sweep by a Toronto team in Chicago in 16 years.

“To win a road series is always a good thing but we set ourselves up for a potential sweep here but they didn’t roll over by any means, and we were in a tight game all the way to the end,” said Jays manager John Farrell.

Hudson’s second hit of the night came with two outs against Jays reliever Francisco Cordero, spoiling a strong outing by starter Henderson Alvarez. Toronto has now lost five consecutive Alvarez starts and nine of 12 on the season.

With one out in the ninth, Dayan Viciedo singled off Cordero. With Alexei Ramirez at the plate, Cordero threw a changeup in the dirt that catcher J.P. Arencibia didn’t block, allowing Vicedo to reach second base. When Ramirez flew out to centre, Viciedo tagged and went to third. Hudson then delivered the game-winning hit to centre, scoring Viciedo.

If Cordero could have had one pitch back it would have been the changeup in the dirt that allowed Viciedo to take second.

“It’s stuff that happens in a game, not the first time it’s happened and not the last time,” said Cordero. “I know J.P. didn’t want that to happen and I don’t want to throw that pitch down there. I just need to make a better pitch. If you want to get people out in the big leagues, you’ve got to make a better pitch than that.”

The Jays led 3-1 most of the night until Alex Rios belted a two-run homer to tie the score in the sixth inning. He had also driven in Chicago’s first run, meaning every White Sox run was driven in by an ex-Jay.

After Rios’ single scored Adam Dunn in the bottom of the first, the Jays rebounded for three runs in the top of the second.

David Cooper and Yunel Escobar got things going with back-to-back singles and then Chicago starter Jake Peavy walked J.P. Arencibia to load the bases with nobody out. After Omar Vizquel struck out, Mike McCoy singled in a pair of runs. Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez dove and snagged a tough grounder from Brett Lawrie, but he gloved the ball wildly to second baseman Gordon Beckham, pulling him off the bag. McCoy was safe and, meanwhile, Arencibia scored from second on the play.

After giving up three singles in the first inning, Alvarez didn’t allow another baserunner until Orlando Hudson singled with two outs in the fifth. The Jays starter wiped out 12 consecutive batters in that span.

In the bottom of the sixth, after Vizquel made a brilliant diving catch and threw Dunn out at first for the first out, Paul Konerko singled into right field and Rios powdered a changeup over the fence in left for his sixth homer to tie the game. It was Alvarez’s 13th homer allowed this season. Only three other pitchers have allowed more.

“I was happy with the way I pitched. All my pitches were working tonight,” said Alvarez.

In his last four starts leading up to Thursday’s assignment against the White Sox, Alvarez had allowed 36 hits, including five homers, plus four walks while compiling an earned-run average of 6.08. The Jays had lost all four games and Alvarez was tagged with the loss in three of them.

“He’s thrown too many fastballs that stayed on the plate and haven’t had that good, heavy sinking action,” said Farrell before the game. “You wouldn’t think a sinkerballer would have given up 12 home runs in 11 starts, yet he has.

“When he’s right, we’ve all seen him attack the strike zone, work ahead in the count and most importantly, has dominated the bottom part of the zone. His changeup is key against an aggressive lineup like this. His sinking fastball against this lineup should be able to produce some ground ball outs.”

This performance provided evidence on both counts. He was dazzling for much of the game, painting the corners and forcing the Chicago batters to hit his pitch, but once again he made a crucial mistake and a power hitter took advantage.

Alvarez gave up seven hits and walked a batters over seven innings Thursday, his longest outing in nearly a month.

In the top of the eighth, Escobar floated a double down the right field line leading off against White Sox reliever Nate Jones. Escobar moved over to third on Arencibia’s ground out to second. With Omar Vizquel at the plate, the Jays tried to squeeze Escobar home but Vizquel couldn’t get a suitable pitch to bunt and eventually struck out.

Yan Gomes, pinch-hitting for McCoy, scorched a grounder to third. Third baseman Hudson apparently didn’t realize there were two outs and threw to the plate rather than first, but Chicago got the out anyway.


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