TORONTO — David Robertson served up another ninth-inning home run to Josh Donaldson, a game-tying shot the day after he served up a Donaldson walkoff blast.
But the White Sox and manager Robin Ventura gave their closer another chance Wednesday afternoon, scoring a pair of runs in the 10th inning and turning it over to him again. This time, he preserved a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays that salvaged the third game of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
Jose Abreu tripled into the right field corner and scored on Adam LaRoche’s single in the 10th, and Gordon Beckham doubled in the Sox’ second run of the inning.
After checking to see how he felt, Ventura sent Robertson (4-1) back out for the 10th, and the right-hander essentially saved his own win by pitching a scoreless inning. On his 35th pitch, Robertson retired Danny Valencia on a grounder to shortstop Alexei Ramirez with runners on first and second to nail down the victory.
“If Robby could stay away from Donaldson, we’d be all right,” Ventura said. “The guy is just on fire. We’ve got to stay away from him somehow.”Donaldson hit his 13th homer of the season and fourth in three games.“Yeah, he’s owned me the last two days,” Robertson said. “I fell behind, and I threw a fastball that was up, middle, and he sent it flying into the seats. It stung. It really did. It felt like I had a great opportunity there to get some redemption from yesterday, and a good hitter did what good hitters do, and he hit a home run. He got me.”
Ventura liked that Robertson didn’t head for the clubhouse after the ninth as if to call it a day. He stuck around in case Ventura wanted more.
“I was glad Robin gave me the opportunity to come back for the second inning,” Robertson said. “I really wanted to redeem myself and try to save the few guys we’ve got left in the pen since we have the doubleheader coming up [Thursday in Baltimore].”
Jeff Samardzija made his third consecutive strong start for the Sox, giving up one unearned run over seven innings.
“Shark pitched a great game,” Ventura said. “He’s just been kind of on time with everything. Really aggressive, emotionally gets stronger as the game goes along.”
Samardzija, who held an opponent to one run or less for the third time, hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 14 innings, and he went seven-plus innings for the sixth time.
“I feel good, man,” said Samardzija, who is rounding into form after allowing five, four, eight and seven runs in four of his first seven starts as a Sox. “Start of the season, a lot of time’s it’s great and sometimes it’s not. You gotta get into the swing of things and get used to things and definitely don’t panic. I feel great and looking forward to get back out there.”
The Sox caught a break in the third inning when Jose Abreu’s pop fly to short right field with two runners on and two out fell for a double when Ezequiel Carrera lost the ball in the sun. Carlos Sanchez (single) and Adam Eaton (single) scored to give the Sox a 2-0 lead.
J.B. Shuck singled home the Sox’ third run against Jays starter Marco Estrada in the sixth to make it 3-0.
The Jays got an unearned run in the seventh when Donaldson’s sacrifice fly scored Kevin Pillar, who advanced from second on a passed ball. Pinch hitter Justin Smoak’s RBI single against Zach Putnam in the eighth cut the Sox lead to 3-2.
Samardzija’s chance for his fifth victory against two losses was lost when Donaldson, who hit an opposite-field shot the night before, pulled his next homer into the left-field stands with one out.
“We won, that’s all that matters,” Samardzija said. “You go out, do your job, get as many outs as you can and see what happens. We played great today, battled at the plate, had some big runs and had some big plays on D. It was good day.”