Wednesday night, the Sox cleared one of their biggest hurdles with barely enough room to spare.
Before Bobby Jenks allowed three runs in the ninth inning, the Sox had responded to manager Ozzie Guillen's liking against one of the league's top pitchers while employing a starting lineup that featured backups Dewayne Wise batting second and Jerry Owens ninth.
"The players didn't feel sorry for themselves," said Guillen, referring to recent injuries to sluggers Carlos Quentin, Paul Konerko and Joe Crede. "They have no excuses."
The Sox scored their most runs in a victory without hitting a homer since May 21, 2007, when they scored eight against Oakland. They also improved to 9-30 this season in games in which they haven't hit a home run.
"Halladay doesn't give up home runs, so it wasn't like any of us were trying to hit home runs," said A.J. Pierzynski, who batted somewhere other than the second spot for the first time since May 13 and hit a two-run double in the sixth.
Wise ignited a two-run first with a single. Owens laid down a squeeze bunt to score Pierzynski to highlight a three-run sixth off Halladay (18-10), who had a five-game win streak.
The biggest run, however, occurred in the eighth when pinch-hitter Brian Anderson's two-out single scored Nick Swisher and extended the Sox's lead to a seemingly safe 6-2 lead.
"Anytime you make a move, you look for the best situation," Guillen said. "That was a big run."
It loomed even larger after Jenks allowed a walk and three hits to enable Toronto to cut the lead to 6-5. Then he struck out Alex Rios with the tying run at third to preserve the victory for Buehrle and snap Toronto's 10-game winning streak.
"You can't give up too many runs and get behind because you're not going to come back," Buehrle said of his showdown with Halladay. "To get those two runs [in the first] was a nice cushion. I didn't think he would give up five runs in this game.
"I wouldn't say it was my best performance or one of the best, but with what's going on in the standings, it was big."
After allowing three hits in the first, Buehrle (13-11) allowed only one runner to move into scoring position over the next six innings.
Buehrle improved to 10-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 16 home starts. He improved to 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA in six career starts against Halladay.
"[Halladay] has some of the best stuff in the game," Guillen said. "We didn't chase many bad pitches."