TORONTO (AP) - After a long layoff, Los Angeles rookie Kenta Maeda turned in another strong start.
The Dodgers’ struggling bullpen was nowhere near as solid.
Kevin Pillar hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, Jose Bautista also connected and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the slumping Dodgers 5-2 on Friday night.
Gavin Floyd (1-2) worked one inning for the win and Drew Storen survived a shaky ninth to earn his second save as the Blue Jays recorded their season-best fourth straight win.
The Dodgers have lost eight of 10.
Starting for the first time since April 28, Maeda allowed two runs and two hits in six innings. His 102 pitches were a season high.
“Overall, really good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Everything was working. That’s an aggressive team over there.”
Darwin Barney’s leadoff single in the third was Toronto’s only hit through the first five innings, but Yasiel Puig threw out Barney as he tried to stretch his hit into a double. The assist was Puig’s fourth.
After Josh Donaldson drew a one-out walk in the sixth, Bautista broke the deadlock by connecting on a 3-2 pitch.
“I ended up throwing a lot of pitches tonight and the one pitch I want to take back is that home run pitch I threw to Bautista,” Maeda said through a translator.
Maeda, who’d walked just six batters over his first five starts, walked four against the Blue Jays.
Still, he fared better than he did in his previous start, when he gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings against Miami.
“I keep saying it’s the best I’ve seen him throw,” Roberts said. “He’s been nothing but consistent.”
Roberts hasn’t been getting much consistency from his bullpen. Dodgers relievers have allowed eight earned runs in their past 13 2/3 innings.
Edwin Encarnacion doubled off Joe Blanton (2-2) with one out in the eighth and was replaced by pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera. The Dodgers intentionally walked Justin Smoak to face Pillar, who drilled a 1-2 pitch into the left field bullpen, his second homer of the season.
“I got ahead of him,” Blanton said. “I tried to come in right there and he hit it.”
Roberts didn’t fault Blanton for giving up the decisive drive.
“At that point in time with the base open late in the game, you don’t want to let the lefty beat you,” Roberts said. “I loved the matchup with Pillar and Martin on deck. He got ahead in the count, he had him 1-2, threw a fastball down and in and Pillar put a good swing on it.”
Los Angeles used a walk and two singles to load the bases with two outs in the ninth but Corey Seager flied out to end it.
MIXING PLEASURE WITH BUSINESS
Two hours after arriving on a red-eye flight from Tampa on Thursday morning, Puig and 1B Adrian Gonzalez boarded a boat to go salmon fishing in Lake Ontario. Gonzalez caught a 24-pound fish while Puig hooked a 19-pounder. After dining on his catch, Puig attended Thursday night’s NBA playoff game between the Raptors and the Miami Heat. Before Friday’s game, Puig was 1,100 feet above Toronto on the CN Tower Edge Walk attraction. Puig posted photos on Twitter of his fishing trip, and his daredevil walk around the CN Tower.
Roberts said Carl Crawford would DH for the Dodgers on Saturday with Gonzalez expected to fill the role Sunday.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left shoulder surgery) threw between 50 and 60 pitches off the mound at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Roberts said Ryu will need to throw once more before beginning a minor league rehab assignment. … RHP Mike Bolsinger (strained left oblique) will begin a rehab assignment next week, Roberts said.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-1, 1.96) makes his first career start against the Blue Jays on Saturday. Kershaw leads the majors in strikeouts (54) and innings pitched (46). He’s 10-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 25 career interleague starts.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (1-3, 5.73) is winless in his past five starts, going 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in that span. Dickey is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four career appearances against the Dodgers.
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