<
>

Burnett shuts down White Sox as Blue Jays win ninth straight

CHICAGO -- The Toronto Blue Jays are on such a good run they think they can make the playoffs.

A.J. Burnett allowed one hit in seven innings -- a hard drive off his third baseman -- as the Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1 in the opener of Tuesday's day-night doubleheader to extend their winning streak to nine.

Toronto is on its longest winning streak since taking a franchise-record 11 in a row in from Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 1998, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Blue Jays began Tuesday 8½ games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race.

"I hope it doesn't stop," manager Cito Gaston said. "I hope we keep rolling. It's a good streak. Hey, win as many as we can before it stops."

Lyle Overbay hit a two-run, two-out double off Javier Vazquez (11-13), and Rod Barajas singled in a run against Mike MacDougal in the ninth.

Burnett (17-10) allowed one unearned run, struck out seven and walked one, working around three errors and several other defensive lapses.

"We're on a good run right now, and I just wanted to come in here and make sure I got the first game of the doubleheader and get things off on the right foot," he said.

Burnett's bid for his second career no-hitter ended when Orlando Cabrera drove hard one-hopper off Scott Rolen's glove and into left field for a single leading off the sixth.

"It happens," said Burnett, who has a career-high 208 strikeouts this season. "I wasn't thinking about it. You see no hits up there, but you've got a long way to go even if it's the sixth inning."

On Aug. 31, Milwaukee was infuriated when the official scorer in Pittsburgh ruled Andy LaRoche's slow fifth-inning grounder off CC Sabathia was a hit rather than an error on the pitcher, who dropped the ball during a barehand attempt. Sabathia wound up with a one-hitter, and Major League Baseball denied the Brewers' appeal asking that the scoring decision be changed to an error.

As for Cabrera's hit?

"That ball was hit pretty hard," Gaston said. "Maybe on turf, Rolen probably catches that ball, but it was hit pretty hard. I would say it's a hit."

Burnett threw 112 pitches, and Scott Downs followed with a one-hit eighth.

"He's relentless," Chicago's Paul Konerko said. "He challenges you. It's not like he's scared. ... He comes right at you, makes you hit."

B.J. Ryan walked Konerko and Ken Griffey Jr. leading off the ninth but escaped with his 28th save in 32 chances. He struck out Alexei Ramirez and Nick Swisher before Juan Uribe grounded out.

Chicago scored in the sixth after Cabrera's hit when shortstop John McDonald booted Jermaine Dye's grounder, Burnett threw a wild pitch and Jim Thome hit a sacrifice fly that drove in A.J. Pierzynski.

Vazquez allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.

But it was a rough game for the White Sox. Particularly Pierzynski, who forced Cabrera on bunts in the sixth and eighth.

"It's frustrating because we had a couple chances," Pierzynski said. "Things happen, you've got to move on."

Game notes
Right-hander Jesse Litsch was to start the second game for the Blue Jays, opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard. The split doubleheader was caused by Monday's rainout. ... Ramirez was selected AL rookie of the month after batting .308 with six homers and 22 RBIs. ... White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen reiterated that he expects left fielder Carlos Quentin to miss the rest of the regular season after surgery for his broken right wrist on Monday. "It's going to take a while," Guillen said. "Hopefully, if we make the playoffs, we can count on him in the playoffs. Right now, to get to the playoffs, I don't think he can help out." ... Vazquez's mother-in-law fainted during the game. The right-hander was not available for comment afterward.