Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah admitted he was thinking about a complete game Thursday as the White Sox were trying to make a comeback attempt in the eighth inning.
It provided a learning opportunity for the young right-hander, who provided another strong performance in Toronto’s 8-3 win over Chicago.
“Baseball is great, man. It teaches you lessons all the time,” Manoah said. “That’s a good lesson for me, to not worry about pitch count or look ahead in the game. Just stay in myself, continue to attack and what’s meant to happen will happen.”
After shutting out the White Sox for 7 2/3 innings, Manoah gave up a two-run double to Luis Robert to end his night. Chicago made it a one-run game but the Blue Jays answered with four runs in the bottom of the eighth en route to their eighth straight win.
Teoscar Hernandez homered, Raimel Tapia scored twice and Santiago Espinal had three RBIs – including a two-run single as Toronto batted around in the eighth – to help the Blue Jays complete the three-game sweep.
Manoah (6-1), who retired 16 batters in a row after escaping a first-inning jam, allowed six hits, three earned runs and a walk. He had five strikeouts and earned his American League-leading ninth quality start of the season.
“He gets stronger. He’s not going to panic,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo.
Yoan Moncada hit an RBI single off Adam Cimber to make it a one-run game in the eighth before the sidearmer got Jose Abreu to fly out. Cavan Biggio drove in Hernandez to help key Toronto’s late rally and Bo Bichette chipped in with an RBI single.
The Blue Jays (30-20) have won 12 of their last 15 games while the White Sox (23-26) have dropped six of eight. Toronto outhit Chicago 12-7.
“I’d rather lose having a chance than not, but these are ones that you lose and you get angry,” said White Sox manager Tony La Russa. “You don’t get frustrated, you don’t get discouraged, you don’t pout.
“You just get angry and do something about it, be ready to play Friday.”
Chicago took advantage of some fielding miscues to put their first two batters of the game on base. Bradley Zimmer couldn’t squeeze Leury Garcia’s sinking liner in centre field and Matt Chapman botched the transfer after gloving a Robert chopper.
Both plays were ruled base hits. Manoah issued a two-out walk to Gavin Sheets to load the bases and worked a full count to Yasmani Grandal before freezing him with a slider to escape unscathed.
Tapia fouled a ball off his right calf in the fifth inning but stayed in the game. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, he tested the leg by rounding the bases on an Espinal double and made it 2-0 with a headfirst slide at home plate.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., led off the sixth with a double and scored when Hernandez turned on a first-pitch offering for his third homer of the year.
Manoah was in full control until giving up a single to Abreu in the seventh inning. He promptly got a double-play and fanned Grandal.
Cueto (0-2), meanwhile, allowed three earned runs and seven hits over six innings while striking out five. It was his first start at Rogers Centre since Game 3 of the 2015 American League Championship Series when he pitched for the Kansas City Royals.
Announced attendance was 25,250 and the game took three hours five minutes to play.
Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu was added to the 15-day injured list Thursday due to left forearm inflammation. He spent almost a month on the IL earlier this season with the same issue.
Right-hander Jeremy Beasley had his contract selected from triple-A Buffalo. The White Sox added right-hander Jimmy Lambert to their active roster from triple-A Charlotte.
The Blue Jays will close out their six-game homestand with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins.
Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-1, 3.48 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday’s opener. The Twins have yet to name their starter.
Toronto’s Jose Berrios (3-2, 5.62 ERA) is tabbed to pitch Saturday and Kevin Gausman (5-3, 2.51) is set to start on Sunday.