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Chicago White Sox drop series opener vs. Toronto Blue Jays

TORONTO — Alejandro Kirk hit a pair of two-run home runs in the Toronto Blue Jays’ 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, which extended the Blue Jays’ streak to six games.

Kevin Gausman (5-3) pitched five innings to win his second straight start, getting five strikeouts while allowing three runs, six hits and one walk. The right-hander has won four of his last six outings.

The Blue Jays are 15-7 in one-run games, the best record in the majors, and have won four consecutive one-run decisions. The Sox lost for the third time in four games and fell below .500 (23-24).

Kirk connected in the second for his second homer of the season, then went deep again with a two-out drive in the fifth, the third multi-homer game of his career.

“I’m just trying to be more selective and looking for the pitch I want,” Kirk said through an interpreter. “I’m trying not to chase and it’s getting the results I’m looking for by doing that.”

“He’s nice and relaxed again and doing what he does,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Kirk, who hit .347 in May with 11 RBIs in 23 games. “He’s not striking out and he puts the ball in play.”

Both of Kirk’s homers came off Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (3-2), who allowed season highs of six runs and eight hits in 4⅔ innings and raised his ERA from 2.63 to 3.61.

Giolito hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his seven prior starts this season, but it was the third time he has given up at least two home runs.

“I just let it snowball,” Giolito said. “I put up a big crooked number. It’s just very frustrating.”

Giolito had gone 16 consecutive starts without allowing more than three earned runs. It last happened Aug. 4, 2021, against the Kansas City Royals.

Andrew Vaughn homered and had four hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, who began a stretch without All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson. He is expected to miss at least three weeks after training his right groin in Sunday’s win over the Cubs.

“It really stings, but we’ve got to have the next-man-up mentality,” Vaughn said of Anderson’s extended absence.

Trevor Richards allowed two runs without retiring any of the four batters he faced in the sixth, but Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia and Julian Merryweather each worked one scoreless inning and Jordan Romano finished for his AL-leading 16th save in 18 chances.

Four straight Sox batters reached against Richards to begin the sixth as Reese McGuire’s second double of the game drove in a run to make it 6-5.

Cimber came on and got Danny Mendick to ground into an RBI fielder’s choice, with McGuire advancing to third. Grandal followed with a fly ball to left, but Lourdes Gurriel Jr. threw Mendick out at second base to end the inning — with the out coming before McGuire could score the tying run.

La Russa said Mendick apologized after the game, but the manager didn’t fault his shortstop.

“I said, ‘First of all, tagging up on that play is a good play, but you’ve got a throw right in front of you,'” La Russa said. “If the throw goes there, you’ve just got to stop. He stops, the run scores.”

Mendick and Vaughn had RBI hits off Gausman in the fifth as the Sox took a 3-2 lead, but the Blue Jays scored four in the bottom half on Kirk’s second homer and a two-run double by Teoscar Hernández that fell beyond the reach of diving center fielder Adam Engel. All four runs came with two outs.

OF Luis Robert was activated off the COVID-19 IL. … Anderson’s IL stint is retroactive to Monday. … OF AJ Pollock sat because of a non-COVID illness. … 3B Yoán Moncada (quadriceps) did not start for the fourth straight game. … OF Eloy Jiménez (right hamstring) missed his second straight game at Triple-A Charlotte. Jiménez left Saturday’s game because of soreness in his leg.

White Sox RHP Michael Kopech (1-1, 1.29) will face Blue Jay’s LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (2-0, 5.48) on Wednesday night. Ryu went 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA in two 2021 starts against the Sox.

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