TORONTO — White Sox right fielder Dayan Viciedo needed one swing to change the complexion of the game Saturday in a 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.
Viciedo socked a three-run homer on the first pitch that Blue Jays reliever Dustin McGowan threw in the seventh inning to push the Sox ahead for good, and they hung on to record their first victory on a Saturday in 13 tries this season.
Viciedo is hitting .169 with three home runs and six RBIs in June. Two of those homers and four RBIs came over the last two games, both of which the Sox won for their first back-to-back victories on this difficult 11-game trip. They wrap up their journey Sunday in the series finale against the Blue Jays.
"The most important thing is that whenever things aren't going well you keep your confidence in yourself," Viciedo said through a team interpreter. "Right now, I'm feeling a lot of confidence in my hitting."
Sox left-hander Chris Sale passed along some thanks to Viciedo for the help in earning his seventh victory of the season. He allowed two runs on four hits with five walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
"We have some scrappy guys, some fighters, especially after a road trip like this that hasn't gone our way," Sale said. "To keep fighting, stay in there and move forward, it really shows what kind of players we have and what kind of player Viciedo is. He comes up with a huge hit against a tough guy."
Sale held the Blue Jays scoreless until the fourth inning when he walked Colby Rasmus and then gave up a two-run homer to Darin Mastroianni for a 2-0 Blue Jays lead. Mastroianni had started the season 0-for-14 before the homer and joined the Blue Jays on Saturday morning from Triple A.
After totaling only one hit and no runs through the first six innings against Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, the Sox came up with two big hits in the seventh to take the lead. Jose Abreu hit a two-out double to left-center field and Adam Dunn walked before McGowan replaced Stroman. Viciedo then hit McGowan's first pitch high into the left-field stands for a 3-2 Sox lead.
"He threw that slider, and it was just kind of hanging there," Viciedo said. "I saw it good, and I was able to put a good swing on it."
Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez was slated to have his first day off in 82 games after manager Robin Ventura said he looked tired Friday, but he did some work in the eighth inning. After Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham reached on back-to-back two-out singles, Ramirez hit a pinch-hit RBI single to left-center field to push the Sox lead to 4-2.
Ventura took the title of team closer away from Ronald Belisario Friday night, but the Sox bullpen still made it interesting. Zach Putnam, who had faced two batters in the eighth, allowed a run in the ninth, but he was able to finish for the save.
The Sox entered Saturday's game at the midway point of the season 37-44, four games better than their 33-48 mark of 2013.
"I'd say there are a lot of positives, but there are lot of things we need to work on," said Eaton, who played Saturday after nearly two full games off with leg soreness. "Early on we played very well. Of late we haven't played as well. But we're heading in the right direction. Guys understand what we need to do to win and be successful. … Hopefully we'll have more success, especially late in the season when it matters."
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