|4:07 PM PT5:07 PM MT6:07 PM CT7:07 PM ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 PM MST6:07 PM EST6:37 PM VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 PM CT, June 27, 2014
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White Sox-Blue Jays Preview
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By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Outstanding production from the top of the order is helping the Toronto Blue Jays overcome the absence of Jose Bautista.
That's not likely to change against one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball.
Jose Reyes, Adam Lind and Melky Cabrera look to continue pacing the Blue Jays against the last-place Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
Toronto (45-36) is hitting .324 with 25 runs while winning three of four games without Bautista, who has a hamstring injury and is expected to return this weekend.
The Blue Jays did just fine without him Thursday, routing Chicago 7-0 in the opener of this four-game set. Reyes, Lind and Cabrera - the Blue Jays' No. 1, 2 and 3 hitters - combined for eight hits, four RBIs and as many runs.
Reyes is 9 for 15 with four extra-base hits and six runs in three games, while Lind is 6 for 16 with a homer and seven RBIs in four games since returning from a bruised right foot.
Cabrera, meanwhile, has a .385 average with seven RBIs and nine runs in 10 contests.
While Reyes was facing the White Sox (36-44) for the first time Thursday, Lind is 14 for 34 (.412) over his last nine games against them and Cabrera is 5 for 14 in his past three.
They may only build on those numbers since Chicago's rotation has posted a 5.83 ERA during the team's 1-10 stretch on the road while the staff ranks among the worst in the majors with a 4.42 ERA.
Toronto's R.A. Dickey (6-6, 4.04 ERA) wouldn't mind some help from the offense after losing his last two starts despite allowing five earned runs in 14 1-3 innings. He was backed by four total runs in those outings.
The knuckleballer, however, has been hurt by the long ball lately, surrendering six homers that have accounted for eight of the nine runs he's yielded over his last four starts.
"I think all but one of my earned runs over my last four or five starts have come on home runs," Dickey said. "That's tough to overcome."
He's 4-0 with a 3.53 ERA over his last seven home starts, but he gave up seven runs - three coming on a pair of homers - in five innings of a 10-6 road loss in his most recent meeting with the White Sox on June 10, 2013.
Chicago will counter with John Danks (6-6, 4.34), who is 1-4 with a 6.46 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays. He'll face them for the first time since May 20, 2011, when he surrendered a career-worst nine runs and three homers in four innings of a 13-4 defeat.
The left-hander wasn't much better Sunday, when he was tagged for six runs while tying seasons highs with 10 hits and four walks in five innings of a 6-5 defeat at Minnesota. He had a 1.51 ERA over his previous five starts, winning the last three.
Chicago's Adam Eaton is nursing cramps in his left leg that forced him to exit in the first inning Friday. The injury ended the center fielder's career-high 12-game hitting streak, during which he went 20 for 48 (.417).
"We'll be kind of day to day, I guess right now," Eaton told MLB's official website. "I feel better after some of the treatment I've been doing."
Updated June 27, 2014