TORONTO (AP) - The Blue Jays are paying the price for a lack of pop in their lineup.
Moises Sierra hit a solo home run, Jose Quintana won back-to-back starts for the first time this season and the Chicago White Sox beat Toronto 4-0 Sunday.
The AL East-leading Blue Jays were shut out for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in 22 games.
“If we want to continue in first place, we have to play better baseball,” shortstop Jose Reyes said.
Toronto went 12-15 in June after going 21-9 in May.
“Since our big streak, we’ve cooled off quite a bit,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “We need to get going.”
That won’t be easy as long as slugger Jose Bautista isn’t a regular. Bautista hasn’t started since leaving last Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati with a strained left hamstring.
Bautista made his first appearance since the injury on Sunday, coming on as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning with two outs and runners at first and second. He grounded into a fielder’s choice.
“Had a couple guys on, down two runs, had the lefty out there you want,” Gibbons said. “You take your shot.”
Toronto is also without infielder Brett Lawrie, who broke his right index finger when he was hit by a pitch last Sunday. Lawrie is expected to miss three to six weeks.
“They’re a big part of it, no question about that,” Gibbons said of Bautista and Lawrie.
Facing his former team for the second time, Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle (10-5) lost for the fourth time in five starts, allowing two runs and six hits in eight innings. He walked two and struck out five.
“You know what he has, it just seems like it’s tough to line him up like you want to,” friend and former teammate Paul Konerko said of Buehrle.
Buehrle lost four straight decisions for first time since losing four in a row for Miami from June 1-19, 2012. He has not won since June 1 against Kansas City.
“I thought we were definitely flat today,” Gibbons said. “I haven’t seen that all year.”
Jose Abreu extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI single as the White Sox posted their first shutout of the season in their 83rd game and won three straight for the first time in more than a month. Chicago swept a home series against Cleveland from May 26-28. They’d gone 8-17 since.
Quintana (5-7) allowed three hits in seven innings, improving to 4-1 with a 1.80 ERA in six starts against the Blue Jays. Quintana walked two and struck out seven.
“It starts off with Q,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “He threw great. He was attacking the zone. If he can get ahead and stay there, and mix speeds like he did today, he’s tough.”
Eric Surkamp worked the eighth and Jake Petricka finished.
Gordon Beckham hit a two-out double off Buehrle in the third and scored when Abreu followed with a first-pitch single to left.
Sierra, who began the season with Toronto but was designated for assignment on May 1, doubled Chicago’s lead with a one-out blast in the fourth.
“I pretty much teed one up for him and that’s what he’s supposed to do with it,” Buehrle said.
Tyler Flowers capped the scoring with a two-run single off former White Sox closer Sergio Santos in the ninth.
NOTES: Buehrle, who spent the first 11 seasons of his career with Chicago, beat the White Sox in Toronto on April 15, 2013. … Bautista ran in the outfield before the game and said his leg was still sore. He hopes to be able to DH Tuesday. … Toronto LH Brett Cecil (groin) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Monday. … The Blue Jays are off Monday before opening a two-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Brewers RH Marco Estrada (7-4) faces Toronto RH Drew Hutchison (5-6).
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