TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays are already well ahead of their pace of last season.
The Blue Jays defeated the Chicago White Sox 14-5 on Tuesday night and have won the first two games of the three-game series to clinch the set. It took them seven series last season before they won their first one.
“The story of the day was their offense was pretty good, so you have to tip your cap to them,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
The Blue Jays (4-2), who split their season-opening four-game series with the New York Yankees, have won four straight games while the White Sox (2-2) have lost two in a row. Toronto was 1-5 after six games in 2017.
“Tough day for us,” Renteria said. “We kept chipping away the whole ballgame, but we weren’t able to contain them. The pitching had a little bit of a tough time. … We have to be able to bounce back tomorrow and put this one behind us.”
White Sox right-hander Carson Fulmer will make his first start of the season Wednesday in the series finale at the Rogers Centre against Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who will be starting for the second time this season.
Fulmer picked up the win in his final Cactus League spring training start at Arizona, pitching four hitless innings in which he walked three and struck out four.
That was a significant improvement over his previous four starts in spring training, when he was 0-3 with an 18.90 ERA.
During 2017, Fulmer was 3-1 with a 3.66 ERA in seven games with Chicago that included five starts. In his final four starts, he was 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA.
He has never faced the Blue Jays.
Sanchez (0-1, 6.35 ERA) was limited to eight starts last season because of a blister problem on a finger, a split finger nail and a strained ligament on his right middle finger.
His final start of the 2017 season was July 19.
After a good spring training with an adjusted grip on the ball, Sanchez started Toronto’s second game of the season on Friday and took the 4-2 loss against the New York Yankees.
“The adrenaline to start the game kind of burned me there at the end,” Sanchez said after the game on Friday. “But it’s just nice to be back out there in the flow of things, in the game. In spring training, you try to mimic it as much as you can, but there’s nothing like it when you get out there. It’s a good stepping stone for me. I’m in a good spot.”
Sanchez allowed four runs, eight hits and four walks while striking out two in 5 2/3 innings.
“Overall, basically (he) missed the year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “I think he ought to feel good about that. He had a good live fastball. He threw some good changeups today. … I think that was a good outing.”
Sanchez is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three career games, including one start, against the White Sox.
The Blue Jays have hit home runs in each of their first six games this season. Josh Donaldson homered in each of the past two games and was back at third base Tuesday for the first time since Opening Day when a “dead arm” hampered his throwing. He had no problem with his throws Tuesday.
Toronto shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who hit a two-run homer in the third inning Tuesday, has homered in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. He left the game Tuesday, however, with back spasms after six innings.
Gibbons said more will be known Wednesday about the extent of Diaz’s back problem.
“Hopefully, it’s no big deal,” Gibbons said.
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