TORONTO -- Dylan Axelrod is still looking for his first win, but the White Sox are 2-1 in games the fifth starter has pitched, so there 'ya go.
The Sox beat the Mariners and former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez on April 6. After Axelrod's poor start in Washington on Thursday, he delivered six strong innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a matchup with Josh Johnson. The Sox won 4-3 for their second victory in eight games on a their 10-game road trip.
"Axe again, it's one of those where you see him going up against the last couple guys ... stuff-wise, and he continues to pitch and get outs,'' manager Robin Ventura said. "It gives us an opportunity to finally get to Johnson so he battled."
Ventura was saying that Axelrod's stuff doesn't compare to Johnson's or Hernandez's, but he spots the ball when he's on and gets the most of what he has to work with stuff-wise. Axelrod knew what he was up against in Johnson and was aware the Sox needed a win.
"For morale's sake in here,'' he said.
Aside from giving up solo home runs to J.P Arencibia and Colby Rasmus, Axelrod allowed five other hits and one walk to go with four strikeouts. Johnson gave up two runs on four hits, striking out eight and walking two over seven innings.
"He's a good one,'' Axelrod said. "Obviously it's going to be tough getting runs. My goal is to have a quality start, keep us in it. And we pulled it out at the end.
"I felt like I executed well. They got me for a couple of solo home runs. I barely missed my spots on them and they made it count.''
Axelrod was caught by backup catcher Hector Gimenez, whose sacrifice fly in the ninth was the Sox' second run of the inning and turned out to be the difference in the game. It scored Paul Konerko.
"Hector did a great job behind the plate mixing it up,'' Axelrod said. "My curve ball was good, throwing it over for strikes. Keeping them off balance with fastballs up and changing speeds.''
Hector Santiago, Matt Lindstrom and Addison Reed (one run allowed, fifth save) did the rest. The bullpen has a 1.86 ERA, which ranks second in the American League.
"They've been lights out,'' Axelrod said. "I just wanted to have a quality start, have us in it. I figure we're going to keep it there whenever it may be when I came out.''