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Toronto at Chicago

Venue: U.S. Cellular Field
  •  

Kevin Youkilis has become quite the fan favorite since joining the Chicago White Sox and it's not hard to see why.

The White Sox will try to head into the All-Star break with six straight wins and a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Chicago moved 10 games above .500 for the first time since October 2010 with a 2-0 win over Toronto on Saturday. Youkilis hit a two-run homer and Gavin Floyd scattered four hits in 7 2-3 innings.

The White Sox (47-37) have won five straight and nine of 11, with Youkilis coming up with the big hit in nearly all of those victories. He has 13 RBIs in 12 games with Chicago and has driven in the go-ahead run five times while hearing the familiar "Yooouk" salute from the crowd that was once a fixture at Fenway Park.

"It's hard to say you expect it, but you like having guys on base and you like him in tough situations because he just continues to find the right pitch and just battle," manager Robin Ventura said.

Youkilis was hitting .233 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 42 games with Boston before being traded June 24. A change of scenery and playing regularly seems to be helping Youkilis, who is batting .311 with three homers for his new team.

"You can be popular one week then a bomb the next," Youkilis said. "The game is crazy and you just have to keep grinding it out. You can't get too high, you can't get too low, you just try to stay in the middle."

He'll try to help the AL Central leaders extend their seven-game home winning streak - their longest since a 12-game run in 2010. Besides clutch hitting from Youkilis, the White Sox are also receiving strong pitching at home from their starters, a group that has a 1.61 ERA over the last 10 games at U.S. Cellular Field.

They've certainly frustrated the Blue Jays (42-43) this weekend. Rajai Davis grounded into his second double play of the series Saturday and Jose Bautista was called out after trying to stretch a double into a triple in the ninth inning.

Brett Lawrie, who also grounded into a double play Saturday, left with lower back tightness in the sixth. Manager John Farrell said Lawrie is questionable Sunday, but the 22-year-old said he expects to play.

"One spot in my back is just kinda tight," Lawrie said. "I thought the best thing to do was get out of there and not make it worse."

Brett Cecil (2-1, 5.64 ERA) will try to end Toronto's three-game losing streak and four-game skid on the road.

Cecil bounced back from an ugly start against the Los Angeles Angels on June 28 with a more effective one versus Kansas City on Tuesday.

After allowing eight runs and 10 hits, including three homers, over 5 1-3 innings against the Angels, the left-hander gave up three runs and five hits over six frames of a 6-3 win over the Royals.

Youkilis is 4 for 10 with a home run and a double against Cecil.

The White Sox will send Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.91) to the mound to close out the first half.

Axelrod went 5 2-3 innings against Texas on Wednesday, allowing four runs and seven hits in a 5-4, 10-inning win. Chicago has won his last three starts.

In his only appearance against the Blue Jays, the right-hander threw six scoreless innings last September, surrendering three hits while striking out six in a 4-3 victory.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Brett Cecil, LHP
2012 stats
22.1 Innings Pitched 25.2
2-1 Wins-Losses 0-1
5.64 Earned Run Average 4.91
7 Walks 8
16 Strikeouts 15
91 Pitches Per Start 106
Career vs. opponent
11.1 Innings Pitched 6.0
1-1 Wins-Losses 1-0
4.76 Earned Run Average 0.00

Dylan Axelrod, RHP
Weather
weather image  Partly sunny. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
84°F69°F13mph/NE54%9%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Toronto3rd AL East8379.512136-4 L 1
Chi White Sox4th AL Central7389.451174-6 L 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Dylan Axelrod
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Johnson31000.333
Arencibia200020
Bautista200110
Carpenter000000
Cecil000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Brett Cecil
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Beckham110201.000
Konerko53211.600
Ramirez42000.500
Youkilis104124.400
Pierzynski62000.333
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Toronto 120 Chi. White Sox -130
Injuries
Toronto
PlayerInjury
M. CabreraFinger
M. IzturisKnee
C. JenkinsHand
B. LawrieBack
Chi White Sox
PlayerInjury
N. JonesElbow
F. PaulinoShoulder
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser