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CWS@TOR: Hill launches a grand slam to left

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays have been waiting for the power to come from Aaron Hill and Edwin Encarnacion. But neither had homered in the Blue Jays' first 52 games of the season.

They have now, both of them. Not only that, Hill hit his first career grand slam in a six-run first inning that catapulted the Blue Jays to a 13-4 victory over the White Sox on Sunday before 18,325 at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays won the four-game series after losing Thursday's first game.

"It's taken a while," Hill said. "It's always nice. It relaxes you a bit to get one on the board and you keep going."

He was asked if he might have hit a grand slam in college and could not recall one. "It's something I've always wanted to do," he said. "Obviously, I've never done it before. To get the team rolling, especially in the first inning, it's always nice."

It was Hill's 36th game and Encarnacion's 38th. Hill spent time on the disabled list with a hamstring injury

The homers helped make a winner of left-hander Ricky Romero (5-4), who allowed six hits and two runs over seven innings. Left-hander John Danks (0-8) allowed nine hits and nine runs in four innings to take the loss.

"You'd like to think [hitting a home run] allows them to relax a bit and not continually press," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Each has had his high totals of home runs in the past."

Romero said he did not take his good stuff into the game but got better later on. By then, he had a big lead, to which he made a contribution. Encarnacion used Romero's bat to hit his homer and broke it in the fifth inning when he hit a single.

"I actually just got my bats in this week because we're getting ready for Interleague Play," Romero said, "And I told [Encarnacion] messing around, 'If you need a home run, just go grab my bat because it probably has a lot in it.'

"Sure enough, he comes out of the dugout and he's kind of flashing the bat in front of me, and I said, 'Oh, you are going to use it?' And sure enough, he goes out there and hits a home run with it."

Romero has two bats left from the shipment, and he told Encarnacion he is welcome to use one of them. "Just don't break it," he said.

While warming up in the bullpen, Romero said he could not get his proper arm angle, and early in the game, his pitches were flat

"It was a grind," Romero said. "For me, it was. Obviously, no one knows that until they hear me say it. In the bullpen, I was about as bad as I can be and I felt good. My arm felt great but my arm angle was a little odd. All [pitching coach Bruce Walton] said was go out there pitch and do what you can do. I know today I didn't have that much good stuff, but I battled and I let them put the ball in play and let the defense work.

"Credit to our offense -- it did a tremendous job today. I started feeling a lot better in the last two or three innings. Mechanically, I felt the ball was starting to come out of my hand a little better."

He had some good defense from third baseman Jayson Nix, who speared a first-inning line drive from Alexei Ramirez. In the second, with two on, center fielder Rajai Davis made a fine catch at the warning track before hitting the wall on Brent Lillibridge's line drive.

Carlos Quentin hit his 13th homer on Romero's first-pitch fastball with two outs in the first inning to give the White Sox (24-31) the first run.

Then the Blue Jays (27-26) went to work in the bottom of the inning. Yunel Escobar extended his hit streak to 10 games with a leadoff single, and Corey Patterson, who had four more hits Sunday to go with five hits, including the game-winning homer in the 14th inning on Saturday, singled. Jose Bautista's single tied the game.

"Corey Patterson, once again he's in a streak right now -- you don't want to see him wake up from it," Farrell said. "He's swinging the bat well. He's obviously seeing the ball well."

"I just think it comes down to when a player has a good game plan and is seeing the ball well, then the hits are going to come," said Patterson, who noted it helps to be hitting in front of Bautista in the lineup.

J.P. Arencibia walked with one out to load the bases for Hill, who homered to left on a 1-1 fastball. Encarnacion followed by hitting a homer to left on a 2-2 changeup.

Juan Rivera extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double in the second, but was thrown out trying for a triple.

Paul Konerko's single gave Chicago a run in the third, but Toronto came back with three in the fourth after Davis was hit by a pitch. After advancing on a groundout, he stole third and scored on Escobar's single. Patterson then hit his fourth homer to make it 9-2.

Nix, who ended an 0-for-22 drought with a first-inning single, doubled home two runs in the fifth against right-hander Lucas Harrell. Patterson singled home Nix and it was 12-2.

Arencibia singled home Rivera, who had doubled, in the sixth to make the score 13-2. Reliever Shawn Camp then gave up a two-run homer to Ramon Castro in the ninth.

Hill had 36 homers in 2009 and 26 in 2010, a season in which he struggled. He is starting to feel better at the plate.

"I've been saying I feel comfortable," he said. "Obviously, it's still not there. I've had some good ABs. I'm trying not to look at results, because you want results quick and fast because you want to get going.

"At the same time I've got to take a step back, because my ultimate goal is to feel good at the plate and get the bat through the zone like I want it to. It's been going out that way and the results will come. But it's just nice to feel I'm getting the bat barrel on the ball and it's close." Comments