CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox weren't shopping for a power hitter when they signed Tadahito Iguchi from Japan in January. They didn't expect him to hit 24 home runs, as he did last season for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. Still, they're happy to take the occasional long ball.
Iguchi led off the eighth inning Thursday with a tiebreaking homer, and the White Sox avoided a three-game sweep with a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"He was a great player in Japan," said center fielder Aaron Rowand, who hit a three-run homer in the first inning. "They don't always translate into great players over here, but a few of them have."
After going 2-for-3, Iguchi is 16-for-33 in his last nine games and is batting .290 for the season. His ninth home run came after came after Toronto's Russ Adams tied the game with an RBI double off Damaso Marte in the top of the eighth.
Iguchi lifted an 0-1 pitch from Justin Speier (1-2) on the outside part of the plate over the right-field fence. The solo shot made a winner of Luis Vizcaino (5-5), who retired the final three batters in the top of the eighth.
"At first, I was hoping for a base hit or an extra-base hit," Iguchi said. "The final result was a home run. That's a good thing."
When he released the pitch, Speier thought the ball would land in right fielder Alex Rios' glove.
"I didn't know he had that much pop to right," Speier said.
Dustin Hermanson worked the ninth for his 26th save in 27 opportunities.
White Sox starter Jose Contreras did not allow an earned run in five innings.
Toronto's Dustin McGowan, making his second major-league start, gave up four runs and four hits in five innings. Adams was 3-for-5 with a triple and two doubles, but the Blue Jays went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12.
Rowand hit his eighth homer during a four-run first inning. Designated hitter Carl Everett went 1-for-2 with a single and walk but left with a mild strain of his left groin. He is expected to miss two to three games.
A day after stranding nine and going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the White Sox jumped ahead in the first inning.
After Iguchi walked with one out, Everett singled and Paul Konerko drove in the first run with a single. McGowan threw a wild pitch, putting runners at second and third, then Rowand's shot to center made it 4-0.
It was a rough beginning for the 23-year-old McGowan, who held Texas to one run and two hits in five innings Saturday but did not get a decision.
The inconsistent Contreras, who had a 5.92 ERA in his previous four starts, kept the Blue Jays off balance with pitches ranging from the high 70s (mph) to mid 90s.
A throwing error by third baseman Joe Crede led to three unearned runs for the Blue Jays in the fourth.
With two on and one out, Crede fielded a grounder by Rios but overthrew first base. That allowed Gregg Zaun to score from second, and it put runners at second and third. The next batter, Orlando Hudson, drove in a run with a groundout, and Rios scored on a triple by Adams that cut Chicago's lead to 4-3.
Vernon Wells led off the fifth with a double. But with one out, Iguchi made a leaping catch of Corey Koskie's line drive. After walking Zaun, Contreras got a groundout.
Adams led off the sixth with a double, but the Blue Jays didn't capitalize, nor did they take advantage in the seventh when Cliff Politte and Marte combined to walk three batters. With a runner on and one out, Marte came in and struck out Koskie. Zaun and Eric Hinske walked before Rios grounded out.
Hudson singled leading off the eighth and Adams followed with the tying double that chased Marte. After Reed Johnson sacrificed, Rowand robbed Wells with a shoestring catch in center and Shea Hillenbrand fouled out.
"In that situation, the first move is to try to get behind the ball so you can get something on the throw," Rowand said. "I realized he didn't hit it as far as I anticipated, and I had to run in and make the catch."