TORONTO — Andrew Vaughn tried. He really tried, with the first four-game hit of his career in the White Sox’ 6-5 loss to the streaking Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Rodgers Centre.
Currently the best hitter in a lineup missing Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez, Vaughn homered, doubled and singled in his first three times up against tough Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman (5-3), keeping the short-handed Sox in the game.
Vaughn thought he was coming to bat with another runner on base after the Sox plated two runs in the sixth to make it 6-5, but a baserunning mistake put an abrupt halt to a pleasantly surprising offensive surge. An apparent sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal (0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the leadoff spot) brought Reese McGuire in from home. But Danny Mendick tagged up and was thrown out at second by Jays left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. before McGuire crossed home. Second baseman Cavan Biggio, with his back to Mendick, made a slick tag, and plate umpire Adrian Johnson emphatically waved off the tying run McGuire should have scored.
“[Mendick] came in and apologized,” manager Tony La Russa said. “First of all, it was a good play. But when you tag up and have the play in front of you and the throw goes there, you have to stop. You stop.”
Mendick wanted to put the tying run in scoring position with two outs for Vaughn.
“I’m an aggressive player,” Mendick said. “It might not have been the best situation to do that with the runner on third, but if I’m going to make a mistake, it’s going to be aggressive. I saw him going back. He made a perfect throw, a perfect play.”
Vaughn collected his fourth hit, a leadoff single, in the ninth against closer Jordan Romano, and Jose Abreu singled him to second. But Jake Burger hit into a double play, and Gavin Sheets struck out.
“We didn’t win, so it’s a crummy feeling,” Vaughn said.
The Sox (23-24) gave a “hellacious effort,” La Russa said, but lost for the fourth time in six games.
Mendick, taking injured shortstop Tim Anderson’s spot, doubled and singled, drove in two runs and scored a run.
Sox starter Lucas Giolito (3-2) served up homers to Alejandro Kirk in the Jays’ two-run second and four-run fifth, the biggest of eight hits the right-hander allowed over 4 ⅔ innings. Giolito struck out eight.
“I was one to two good pitches away from being out of it,” Giolito said. “But the loss tonight is fully my responsibility, considering the team put up runs on a really, really good pitcher on the side and gave me [a 3-2] lead. In the fifth inning, I just gave it up.”
A man short — sort of
The Sox are playing the first two games of the series one short of a full 26-man roster.
Starting pitcher Dylan Cease and reliever Kendall Graveman, who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19, are on the restricted list because Canada requires entrants to be vaccinated at least 14 days before entry.
Because Cease pitched four-plus innings against the Cubs on Sunday, the Sox can’t replace him on the active roster until Thursday. Reliever Kyle Crick filled Graveman’s spot.
This and that
Grandal, batting leadoff for the 16th time in his career, saw his average drop to .136.
• Leury Garcia didn’t start because of a sore hip but said he expects to play Wednesday.
• A schedule change for the Sox series in August in Kansas City now includes a doubleheader at 3:10 p.m. on the 9th and singles games on the 10th (7:10 p.m.) and the 11th (1:10).