BOSTON — 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 1/2 games over second-place Baltimore in the AL East. They're 16 games over .500 for the first time since they finished the 2011 season at 90-72. Last season, the Red Sox won just 69 games.
With the score tied at 5, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia singled in the seventh off Neil Wagner (1-2). Brett Cecil relieved and both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Mike Napoli walked, loading the bases.
Gomes, pinch hitting for Daniel Nava, then lined a single past third baseman Maicer Izturis for the go-ahead run. Darren Oliver came in and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia, forcing in the second run of the inning.
Boston had led 5-0 through four innings against Johnson. But Toronto scored four runs in the next two innings and tied it in the seventh.
"We battled to come back and tie it and then they dropped two on us again real quick," Gibbons said, "but the bullpen can't be perfect every night."
Uehara has been.
He struck out two of the three batters he faced in each of the last three games – one against Colorado and two against Toronto.
"They've been trying to find that guy ever since Hanrahan went down and then Bailey struggled," Gibbons said. "He seems like the perfect guy for it."
The Red Sox went ahead 2-0 in the second on a walk to Napoli, a single by Nava and Stephen Drew's sixth triple of the season and third in four games. Napoli singled in a run in the third before the Red Sox scored two in the fourth when Drew started the rally with a one-out double.
He left the game with a tight right hamstring and Brandon Snyder pinch ran. Jose Iglesias then singled and both runners scored on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury.
After four shutout innings, Red Sox rookie Allen Webster struggled in the fifth when he allowed RBI singles to Jose Bautista and Encarnacion and a sacrifice fly to Adam Lind. Izturis made it 5-4 with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Notes: Farrell said Drew is day-to-day. ... Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to nine games and increased his AL-high total to 22 hits leading off an inning. ... Toronto SS Jose Reyes singled in the third, his first hit since he returned Wednesday after missing 66 games with a severely sprained left ankle. ... Boston rookie SS Iglesias went 2 for 4 and has 52 hits in 124 at bats. ... Johnson, who came to Toronto from Miami after last season, got his only win with the Blue Jays in his previous start, a 13-5 victory over Baltimore. ... Esmil Rogers (3-3) pitches for Toronto on Saturday against Felix Doubront (4-3) in the third game of the four-game series.