Richmond rebounds

On this day, Scott Richmond made it through the second inning unscathed. And, whether he’s willing to admit it or not, that was likely a mental hurdle the right-handed pitcher needed to clear in order to regain the confidence he had back in April – a month in which he earned American League rookie-of-the month honours.

It was the second inning, after all, in each of his last two starts that Richmond was victimized by the opposition – a five-run second against the Oakland A’s on May 8, and a similar five-run second against the New York Yankees during his last start on May 13. Both resulted in Toronto losses.

But with a clean slate – save a walk – through two frames on Monday afternoon against the White Sox, Richmond returned to his early season groove. That meant 7.0 scoreless innings while allowing just five hits and striking out seven. And though he received a no-decision, the 29-year-old rookie left with a 2-0 lead.

After Jesse Carlson allowed a game-tying two-run homer to Jim Thome in the eighth, Toronto right-fielder Alex Rios quickly put the Jays back in front with an RBI triple in the bottom half, a big hit for the 28-year-old who has been inconsistent thus far in 2009.

The end result was a four-game sweep of the White Sox, and an overall record of 27-14 for the Blue Jays, who now sit 3 ½ games ahead of the Boston Red Sox for first in the AL East heading into a three-game set against those same Sox at Fenway starting Tuesday.

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