Marcus Stroman couldn't get out of the first inning and the Toronto Blue Jays couldn't get back in the win column.
The Blue Jays gave up 17 hits and five-run innings in the first and fifth, losing 11-5 to the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
"Win a game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons of the solution. "That's all it takes. It's not always that easy, though."
Especially of late. Toronto has lost 10 of 13 to drop four games behind Seattle in the race for the second and final wild-card spot.
Stroman (7-4) allowed five runs on five hits and a hit batter in two-thirds of an inning, his shortest outing since joining the rotation on May 31.
"In fact, I even made some good pitches," Stroman said. "When I made good pitches, they were hit for base hits. It was one of those days that you put in the past, put your head down, work hard during the week and look forward to your next outing."
Afterward, pitcher Chad Jenkins was optioned to triple-A Buffalo. He allowed one run on five hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings. A relief pitcher is expected to be called up before the game on Saturday night.
Rookie Jose Abreu had three singles and three runs batted in to increase his total to 89, most in the major leagues. Adam Dunn, who also had three hits, and Dayan Viciedo each drove in two runs.
Hector Noesi (7-8) settled down after allowing four runs in the first two innings and pitched five-plus innings for his fourth win in five decisions.
Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion was hitless as the DH after being activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game.
Ten of the first 15 White Sox hitters reached base as Chicago scored five runs in the first inning and added one in the second.
"The offence was great tonight," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "We put together a really great inning against a hot pitcher. It was good to see the offence do this tonight.
HURRY UP ALREADY
Three pitchers combined to throw 68 pitches in a 40-minute first inning.
"It's ridiculous the way the speed of the game is right now," said ex-White Sox and current Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle, one of the fastest workers in the big leagues. "To me, [baseball officials] need to do something to change it up."
Asked whether he would be in favour of a pitch clock, Buehrle said, "There's supposed to be one right now, but they don't really [enforce it]. When the batter gets in the box, stay in the box. I mean, there's a lot of stuff they can do to change it."
Encarnacion, a two-time all-star, missed more than a month because of a strained right quadriceps muscle. He has played 70 of 91 games this season at first base, but manager John Gibbons plans to ease Encarnacion back onto the field.
"He'll have to play first base, but he was running guarded a little bit," Gibbons said. "If we don't have to, we'll let him DH the first few games anyway."
The Blue Jays sent outfielder Anthony Gose to the triple-A Buffalo to make roster room for Encarnacion. They also optioned RHP Chad Jenkins to Buffalo after the game.
Outfielder Avisail Garcia, out since April 9 (torn labrum in left shoulder) has progressed in a rehab stint at Triple-A Charlotte and could be back as early as this weekend, according to Ventura. Garcia has 17 hits in 50 at-bats (.340), the number of plate appearances Ventura said Garcia needed to reach.
Buehrle (11-8, 3.31) will face Chicago LHP John Danks (9-8, 4.96) on Saturday. Buehrle will take the mound at U.S. Cellular Field for the first time since leaving the White Sox three years ago.
Buehrle has made two starts in Toronto (1-1) against Chicago, where he pitched for the first 12 years of his career.
Adam Lind rejoined the Blue Jays from the DL on Tuesday in Seattle at was at first base on Friday. Lind has just four homers and 27 RBIs in 63 games with a .319 average, but last year hit 23 homers with 67 RBIs.
The Blue Jays are counting on him and Encarnacion for an offensive boost down the stretch.
"Early in the season when we were winning a lot of games, a lot of it was we were scoring a lot of runs," Gibbons said. "These guys are a big part of our team."