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BOS@TOR: Johnson strikes out six in Blue Jays debut

The Toronto Blue Jays will look to continue their momentum after a come-from-behind victory Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers when the two teams battle it out in the rubber match of their three-game series at Comerica Park on Thursday.

Toronto's early struggles have been well documented, as the club has been out of sync in all three phases of its game since the season began.

"I know that all we have to report on is what we see each day, and it's going to be a story. You just can't react to tiny sample sizes at this point," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said prior to Wednesday's contest.

Things turned in Toronto's favour on Wednesday in the sixth inning after Detroit took an early five-run lead. The trio of Rick Porcello, Brayan Villarreal and Darin Downs surrendered the Tigers' lead, giving up seven runs in the sixth and seventh inning combined, proving to be the difference in the ballgame.

Before Wednesday's middle-innings meltdown, the Tigers looked to be in complete control of the first two games of the series, and they'll look to rebound on Thursday.

Starting for the Tigers will be Doug Fister, who earned the victory in Detroit's home opener against the New York Yankees last Friday. Fister allowed three runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two over five innings.

Josh Johnson will make his second start for the Blue Jays and hopes to emerge with his first victory since joining the team. Johnson took a no-decision in his first start with Toronto on Friday, allowing three earned runs on nine hits, while striking out six over six innings.

Tigers: Leyland seems set on a closer

• With Jose Valverde beginning his comeback attempt in Florida and Bruce Rondon in Triple-A Toledo, the closing duties appear to have fallen to Joaquin Benoit.

"On a lot of the days, if it's doable, I think Benoit is the most experienced and versatile enough against righties and lefties to pitch the ninth," said manager Jim Leyland on Wednesday.

• Victor Martinez returned to the Tigers' lineup after missing Tuesday's contest with a cut thumb and went 0-for-4 while leaving four runners on base. He did collect an RBI by coaxing a bases-loaded walk in a four-run fifth inning.

• The top four batters in Detroit's lineup -- Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder -- are all off to great starts this season, batting a collective .365 with three home runs and 23 RBIs.

Blue Jays: Struggles continue defensively

• Toronto has struggled defensively all season, most notably Emilio Bonifacio at second and Maicer Izturis at third. Combined they have six of the team's eight errors, while playing at slightly unfamiliar positions.

• J.P. Arencibia, Wednesday's hero with a three-run go-ahead double in the seventh inning, has started the year red hot, batting .313 with three home runs and seven RBIs.

• Toronto starters have allowed 30 earned runs in 41 1/3 innings for a 6.53 ERA through the team's first eight games.

Worth noting

• Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie will play in an extended spring game on Thursday, his first since his injury in early March.

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