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CWS@NYY: Axelrod fans four over seven solid frames

Some 26-year-olds making their sixth Major League start may be intimidated by facing Jose Bautista and the rest of baseball's second-most prolific home run attack. But Chicago's Dylan Axelrod -- who will get the ball in Sunday's first-half finale against the Blue Jays -- has faced formidable challenges in his last two outings.

He didn't fare too badly, either.

In his first game at Yankee Stadium on June 28, the right-hander limited New York's vaunted lineup to two runs on six hits over seven innings. Then, on Wednesday against Texas -- the Majors' best offense -- Axelrod settled himself down after struggling early.

He allowed the Rangers to score four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. But Josh Hamilton's solo homer was the only additional run he allowed after giving up three on five hits in the first.

"They strung some hits together with two outs," said Axelrod, whose first career win came in his only start before this season against Toronto on Sept. 26 last year. "... I told myself that's all they're going to get."

If Axelrod's comfort level has been improved through baptism by fire, Toronto starter Brett Cecil seems to be growing more comfortable when working with catcher Jeff Mathis. Mathis has caught all four of Cecil's starts this season. Though he owns a 5.64 ERA in those games, his ERA drops to 3.17 with the exception of his eight-run outing against the Angels on June 28.

Cecil earned his second win of the year on Tuesday after he limited Kansas City to three runs on five hits in six innings -- and Mathis was behind the plate.

"We're pretty good," Cecil said of the tandem. "He knows where I like him to set up with certain pitches. Things are going well."

Blue Jays: Lind's adjustments leading to success
• Adam Lind -- who has raised his batting average from .186 to .205 in 12 games since his return from Triple-A -- said minor tweaks made all the difference. He was aided by Triple-A Las Vegas hitting coach Chad Mottola.

Lind hit .392 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 32 games with Las Vegas.

"Two or three weeks before I came back up, I was starting to feel more comfortable in the batter's box," Lind said. "Just a lot of hard work, a lot of experimenting and we kind of found a solution and kind of just ran with it."

• Toronto manager John Farrell said he will set up his post-All-Star-break rotation in the following order: Ricky Romero, Aaron Laffey, Carlos Villanueva, Henderson Alvarez, and Cecil.

White Sox: Humber's rehab going well
• Philip Humber continues to progress during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte, though he will likely make one more rehab start before rejoining the big league rotation. Humber yielded two runs on five hits in four innings on Friday, his second outing with Charlotte.

Humber was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to June 17, with a right elbow flexor strain.

"My arm feels great," Humber said. "This past [start], my fastball command was pretty much where I wanted it to be. That was really what we were going for this start. The first one was just to make sure you feel good."

• Alex Rios' hit streak was halted at 11 games when he went 0-for-2 with a walk on Saturday. He was 21-for-46 (.457) during the streak.

• A.J. Pierzynski is the first White Sox catcher to hit 16 or more home runs before the All-Star break since Carlton Fisk had 23 in 1985, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Worth noting
• Chicago is 11-24 against Toronto since 2008, despite taking this series' first two games.

• Current White Sox hitters are batting .343 (12-for-35) all-time against Cecil with three home runs. Kevin Youkilis is 4-for-10 (.400) against Cecil. Comments