With an offense that remains in a lull, the Boston Red Sox hope they can count on Ryan Dempster to beat the Toronto Blue Jays for the second time in 10 days.
Meanwhile, Toronto can claim just its second series win with a victory Sunday at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox (22-15) have lost seven of nine after Saturday's 3-2 defeat as Clay Buchholz was denied in his second bid for a seventh win. Buchholz gave up two runs with six hits over eight innings, but Mark Buehrle countered with his best outing of the year, going seven innings while limiting Boston to one run and five hits.
Adam Lind provided the go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth after Toronto squandered a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays, though, also took much better advantage of their chances, going 2 for 4 with runners in scoring position compared to Boston going 0 for 11.
"Both guys settled in and pitched extremely well on both sides," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Seemingly, after the second inning, Buehrle really settled into a very good rhythm. As we know he works extremely fast. Lived on the edge the whole game."
The Red Sox are homerless in three straight games and averaging 3.2 runs over the last 10 compared to 5.4 in the first 27 contests. David Ortiz is 1 for 17 in four games after hitting safely in each of his first 15 with four home runs.
While Dempster (2-3, 2.93 ERA), a native Canadian, held the Blue Jays to one run and four hits over six innings in a 3-1 win at Toronto on May 2, Boston's defense failed him his last time out. He was charged with four runs - two earned - five hits and one walk over seven innings as Pedro Ciriaco committed consecutive errors in the eighth in a 6-1 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday.
"I mean, that's your job as the starting pitcher," Dempster told the team's website. "You go out there and try to do that. So I was happy with that -- I just wish I could have pitched a little better and given us a chance to win the ballgame."
After Buehrle's strong performance Saturday, the Blue Jays (14-24) must rely on a spot starter Sunday.
Right-hander Chad Jenkins was recalled Saturday from Double-A as outfielder Rajai Davis was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Brandon Morrow was scratched from this start due to soreness in his back and neck.
Jenkins has made just one minor league start this year after a shoulder injury delayed the start of his season. The right-hander went 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 13 games last season for Toronto, starting three.
"The manager called me in the office last night and was like, 'Hey, you're going back up,'" Jenkins told the team's official website. "To be honest, I was pretty surprised."
Boston received bad news Saturday as closer Joel Hanrahan will require season-ending surgery on his right forearm, with the procedure likely taking place next week. Toronto closer Casey Janssen converted his 10th save in as many opportunities Saturday despite giving up a leadoff double.
Edwin Encarnacion has been baffled by Dempster, going 1 for 14 (.071) against him.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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