Dewayne Wise started the home run barrage in style.
With five home runs tonight, the Sox emphatically sealed a series victory for the first time in Toronto since Aug. 4-6, 2006. They also extended their winning streak to three games, set a new high-water mark at 13 games over .500, and extended their lead over Detroit to 2 1/2 games.
Each homer was a mightier blow than the one before it.
Aaron Laffey started the game flirting with disaster as fell behind in the count to nearly every hitter early on. Dewayne Wise made him pay first. It started with Dewayne Wise, who opened up on a 3-1 pitch and pulled it over the fence in right center for a solo shot. That immediately answered Moises Sierra's two-run homer in the bottom of the second, cutting the Blue Jays lead in half.
Leading off the fifth, Dayan Viciedo squared up and drilled a backspin-laden line drive out of the park in left to tie the game (1-1 count, first pitch ball). Tyler Flowers made it back-to-back by absolutely crushing a 1-0 offering above the ring of retired numbers, just below the third deck, giving the Sox the lead. Laffey threw first-pitch strikes to just seven of 23 batters.
The Sox nursed a one-run lead until the eighth, when Kevin Youkilis singled (for the Sox's first non-homer hit of the game) and Adam Dunn walked with one out. Alex Rios, booed for the entire series, put his stamp on the trip with a three-run homer off lefty Darren Oliver. John Farrell once again was burned by an odd-handed pitching decision, but maybe it didn't matter. Even with Brandon Lyon on the mound, Alexei Ramirez was able to join the Home Run derby by hitting a majestic solo shot down the line for his fifth of the year.
Robin Ventura might have been mildly annoyed with a homer-based offense, but even he has to smile with five different Sox go deep. The Jays touched him up for a couple of runs in the second when Sierra put a good swing on an OK first pitch for a two-run homer, but Liriano stayed poised, retiring 13 in a row soon after.
Liriano benefited from all the blasts, picking up his first win as a White Sox with a strong 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked just one, a pleasing turnaround from his unraveling the start before.
Ventura had him on a short leash though, lifting him with one out and a runner on first in the seventh. Liriano had only thrown 86 pitches, but based on the way he became unglued the start before, Jesse Crain was a better bet to have better command. It worked, with Crain pitching around an Anthony Gose stolen base with a strikeout and a flyout.
Crain's appearance was interrupted by a medical emergency in the stands behind third base. Youkilis called for the umpires to stop play, and we'd soon discover that EMTs were administering CPR to a fan who had suffered an apparent heart attack. This has been the most specific description I can find:
— the man in white(@jaysfaninwhite) August 17, 2012
@lottonbaseball a fan did CPR 1st, then a red medic followed by blue medic who walked off the field. going on about 7 min prior to delay.
The Toronto broadcast cut to commercial, and the players watched the fan get carried off on a stretcher with medics still trying to resuscitate him. I hope it's not as bad as it looked and sounded. The worst thing that's supposed to happen at a ballpark is losing a game.