There was a mild sigh of relief Thursday night from the White Sox, even after they had failed to expand their narrow lead in the American League Central.
They had the temporary satisfaction of no longer having to deal with Toronto for the remaining 16 games after the Blue Jays completed their season dominance with a 6-4 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.
Ozzie Guillen said after the Sox had lost to Toronto for the seventh time in eight meetings. "They give a lot of people trouble. I think we have to thank them, too, because they were pretty good against Minnesota a couple of weeks ago."
Toronto went 6-0 against the Twins this season.
The Sox took some solace in that they broke out of their series slump against Toronto with four runs in the eighth inning. But that came after the Blue Jays had snapped a scoreless tie with six runs in the top of the inning off Gavin Floyd and two relievers.
"It will be good to move on," said Jim Thome, who capped the four-run eighth with a two-run homer off reliever Scott Downs. "They have a nice pitching staff, and, unfortunately, we didn't have a very good series. We have to bounce back.
"[Floyd] has done a great job for us all year, and he kept us in the game. We haven't done too much offensively."
The Sox were outscored 34-18 in the eight games against Toronto, and Thome's homer represented the only one they hit in the four-game series.
Before the eighth inning, the Sox placed only two runners in scoring position against Shaun Marcum, who improved to 3-0 lifetime with a 2.16 ERA against them. Marcum's streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings against the Sox was snapped when Jermaine Dye hit a two-out, two-run double off Downs that preceded Thome's homer.
A two-out fielding error by third baseman Scott Rolen put the tying run on base in the ninth, but Orlando Cabrera struck out against closer B.J. Ryan to end the game and prevent the Sox from increasing their lead over Minnesota. The lead stands at one game.
"As far as missed opportunities, who knows?" Thome said. "We have to move on. We have Detroit coming in, and we have to focus in on them. Fortunately, Minnesota lost, so that's a good thing. We have to keep battling. It has been a fun month to keep this going."
The Sox will have to generate more offense this weekend without first baseman Paul Konerko, who remains sidelined by a medial collateral sprain of his right knee.
"Paul uses his legs a lot to hit," Guillen said before the game. "He has a lot of body movement in his swing. I told him not to have any timetable because if you don't make it back in that time you're going to be upset. Take the time, build the right way. If it takes one or two weeks — hey, that's what it is. But don't try to rush it because it's not going to do you any good."
Blue Jays 6, White Sox 4