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Blue Jays hoping to start another long win streak

Saturday - 6/29/2013, 12:30am  ET

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson delivers to the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, June 28, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays are trying to start another long winning streak.

They might have a better chance if they didn't keep falling so far behind.

After winning 11 consecutive games, the Blue Jays dropped their fourth in the last five with a 7-5 loss to the Red Sox on Friday night after erasing a five-run deficit. One night earlier, they lost to Boston 7-4 after falling behind by seven.

"What makes it tough is we came back and tied it" on Friday, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said, "but it's never easy playing catch-up and that's what we've had to do."

Josh Johnson left after 3 1-3 innings trailing 5-0, but Toronto tied it in the sixth on Edwin Encarnacion's 23rd homer of the year, a solo shot.

"They chipped away, did a really good job," Johnson said. "I should have still been in the game but I didn't do my job."

Toronto charged back into contention in the AL East with that 11-game surge, then went on the road and lost two of three to Tampa Bay before coming to Boston.

"We played so good for so long," Gibbons said. "That's the way the game works sometimes. You're bound to cool off a little bit."

Koji Uehara keeps getting hotter as Boston's new closer. He had his third perfect save in three days.

"I'm going to tell them that I'm not available tomorrow," a laughing Uehara said through a translator.

Joel Hanrahan had blown four of his six save opportunities and had a 9.82 ERA before Tommy John elbow surgery ended his season. Andrew Bailey also struggled and blew two consecutive save chances before manager John Farrell turned to his third option, Uehara.

"After he went through his throwing program, he said he was good to go" for a third straight day, Farrell said. "So, we were in a save situation, he was going to be the guy."

Jonny Gomes put Uehara in that situation when he broke a tie with a bases-loaded, pinch-hit single in the two-run seventh.

"I'm a grinder," he said. "I'm willing to take one off the neck for the team. You've definitely got to be confident."

Gomes hadn't played in five of the previous six games, but is 4 for 12 with two homers and three RBIs as a pinch hitter. He also is hitting .321 with runners in scoring position.

The Red Sox had 15 hits, giving them at least 10 for the sixth time in seven games. They have 93 hits over that span.

Andrew Miller (1-2) got the win with 1 1-3 scoreless innings.

The Red Sox won their fourth in a row and improved to 49-33, the best record in the AL and 3
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