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Santiago Espinal of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts as he fly outs in the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre. The White Sox beat the Jays 5-2 on Aug. 24, 2021 in Toronto.COLE BURSTON/Getty Images

A poor start by Jose Berrios put the Toronto Blue Jays in an early hole Tuesday night. A lack of clutch hitting later in the game proved just as costly.

Jose Abreu homered in Chicago’s four-run first inning and the White Sox held off two late-inning threats in a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

“When you’re struggling to score runs, it is tough,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said of trying to overcome an early deficit. “But one thing about this team is they don’t quit. They’re facing good pitching and we were in the game until the end.”

The Blue Jays gave up a season-high 18 hits but still sent the potential tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings. Reliever Liam Hendriks got out of both jams to help end Chicago’s three-game losing skid and send Toronto (65-59) to its eighth loss in 11 games.

Luis Robert scored twice for the White Sox (73-54), who got a strong start from Dylan Cease (10-6). He gave up a solo shot to Corey Dickerson, one of just four hits allowed over his seven innings.

Berrios (8-7) struggled from the outset in his shortest start in over three years. Robert and Yoan Moncada singled before Abreu belted an 0-1 offering – just the fifth pitch of the game from Berrios – for his 26th homer of the year.

Danny Mendick added an RBI double before Berrios fanned No. 9 hitter Zack Collins to end his 33-pitch frame. Berrios lasted just two more innings before being replaced by Trent Thornton.

“I felt strong and healthy, I just didn’t execute well in that first inning,” Berrios said.

Abreu drove in another run on a groundout after the White Sox put runners on the corners in the fourth. Cease, meanwhile, retired the first 11 batters before Vladimir Guerrero Jr., singled in the bottom half of the frame.

Toronto’s first extra-base hit came in the fifth on an Alejandro Kirk double. He moved to third on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr., single but both runners were stranded when Santiago Espinal popped up.

Abreu picked up his third hit of the game an inning later but Gurriel’s strong throw from left field prevented the Chicago slugger from stretching it to a double.

Josh Palacios and Teoscar Hernandez also had an assist apiece. It was the second time in club history that all three Toronto outfielders had assists in the same game.

Dickerson turned on a 97-m.p.h. fastball in the seventh inning for his fifth home run of the season.

In the eighth, the Blue Jays threatened after one-out singles by Espinal and Bo Bichette. Hendriks replaced Michael Kopech and walked Marcus Semien to load the bases for Guerrero, who worked a full count before grounding into an inning-ending double play.

Gurriel drove in Hernandez to make it a three-run game in the ninth. With two runners on, Hendriks struck out Palacios and got Espinal to ground out to end it.

Cease fanned seven and issued one walk over his tidy 95-pitch outing. Berrios, acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins, allowed four earned runs and nine hits while striking out six.

Toronto entered play 4½ games behind the Boston Red Sox in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. The Blue Jays started the day with a 13.1-per cent chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs.

The White Sox started the day with a nine-game lead on the second-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. Announced attendance was 14,553 and the game took three hours 12 minutes to play.


Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson after a mound visit in the first inning. ... The White Sox reinstated utilityman Leury Garcia from the 10-day injured list before the game and optioned right-hander Ryan Burr to triple-A Charlotte. ... Outfielders Joe Carter, Devon White and Shawn Green recorded an assist apiece for Toronto against the California Angels on July 5, 1995. ... The Blue Jays will send left-hander Robbie Ray (9-5, 2.79 ERA) to the mound Wednesday night against right-hander Lucas Giolito (9-9, 3.77).