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TOR@BOS: Bautista's second homer puts Blue Jays ahead

After snapping Boston's four-game winning streak, the Blue Jays hope the momentum carries them to a series split in the finale of their four-game set with the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.

Toronto answered Boston's seventh-inning tying runs in Saturday's contest with Jose Bautista's second homer of the game in the eighth to win, 6-2.

The Blue Jays will start Mark Buehrle, who surrendered four runs on eight hits while issuing a season-high four walks over just five innings in his previous start against the Rays. The four earned runs were the most the left-hander had allowed since May 17 in New York, where he surrendered five to the Yankees.

It also marked the second straight start in which Buehrle went only five innings, after he had recorded a quality start in five consecutive outings.

"[I was] up in the zone a lot, fell behind guys -- not getting strike one, you're going to be in trouble all night long," Buehrle said. "I made a few pitches when I needed to, and they put the ball in play. That's why this game is frustrating.

"You're missing your spots, and you make a good pitch and they put the ball in play. Whether it's a broken-bat base hit or finding a hole."

Buehrle will go up against Ryan Dempster, who will try to secure Boston's Major League-leading 17th series victory of the season.

The Canadian right-hander struggled for most of May, but has since put together six consecutive quality starts.

In his previous start against the Rockies, Dempster picked up his fifth win of the season by holding them to two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out four over six innings. 

Part of the damage came on a Wilin Rosario solo home run. It was the 17th homer Dempster has allowed, but 15 of them have been of the solo variety.

"I've always said solo home runs don't beat you," Dempster said. "I wish there haven't been that many I've given up, but, you know, especially in a situation like tonight where we're putting up runs, I'm trying to attack the strike zone, and if somebody hits one out, they hit one out."

Blue Jays: Bullpen among all-time best for month
Toronto entered Saturday's game with an overworked bullpen after logging 13 innings over the first two games of the series in Boston, but the relievers have held up well despite surrendering the winning runs in Friday's contest.

"Like I said, they're not going to be perfect every time out there," manager John Gibbons said.

Despite the runs, it was a rare hiccup for a club that has been just shy of perfect in the month of June.

Entering Saturday, the bullpen collectively had a 1.00 ERA this month, putting it on pace to beat the franchise-best mark in a month set by the 1992 Blue Jays, who had a 1.50 ERA in September.

Even with two earned runs on Saturday, the bullpen holds a 1.21 ERA in June. However, it is no longer a threat to the 1965 Baltimore Orioles, who had a 0.77 ERA in a single month.

• Bautista's first home run Saturday was No. 200 of his career. After adding his second in the eighth, he now has 142 in the past three and a half seasons compared to 59 over his first six.

Red Sox: Farrell trying to pick right spots to use Bailey
• Andrew Bailey has struggled recently, losing the closing role as a result, and the Red Sox would like to ease him back into high-pressure situations to get him right again.

The former closer, however, found himself pitching in more of a pressure situation Friday in the seventh inning than manager John Farrell would prefer. Bailey entered the game with his club up a run before allowing a solo shot to Edwin Encarnacion to tie the game.

"Well, that's a middle-relief role," Farrell said. "Seventh inning is a middle-relief role. There may be some curiousness as to why he was brought into that game. We've got to get him through the spell he's going through, and I thought he took a step in the right direction last night.

"He got a fastball up to Encarnacion, but I thought his stuff was much better last night than five days ago. He was the most rested, the most experienced. [Junichi] Tazawa had been hot five of the last seven days and was unavailable, so that's why Bailey was in last night."

Bailey had struck out the first two batters he faced prior to the home run.

For now, there's no defined role for the former closer.

"Based on who's available, that decision will be made in game," Farrell said.

Worth noting
• The Red Sox are batting a Major League-best .299 (289-for-965) in the month of June. The Sox last hit at least .300 in a month back in May 2006 (.306)

• Prior to Saturday's contest, Boston had won four straight games for the first time since May 24-27, outscoring opponents 30-16.

• With the victory, the Blue Jays are now 5-7 vs. the Red Sox this season, and 3-3 at Fenway Park. Comments