One step forward, one step back – such is the Toronto Blue Jays' lot in the month of August.
After snapping a four-game losing streak against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, they dropped a 7-5 decision on Sunday; the string of wins they'll need to vault themselves back into the American League's playoff positions will have to wait.
As was the case in Friday's series-opener, the Jays' undoing was a poor first inning from a young starting pitcher.
Drew Hutchison contrived to load the bases in his first inning of work, and very nearly escaped, having gotten to a 2-2 count with two outs against Sox third baseman Connor Gillaspie.
Sadly, he couldn't come up with a third strike; his next offering was parked in the right-centre bleachers.
After an infield hit from Gordon Beckham, Jordan Danks victimized Hutchison for a second home run in the frame – Toronto's 1-0 first inning lead (on a vaguely controversial review of a play at the plate involving Jose Reyes – catcher Tyler Flowers was adjudged to have blocked the plate) was short-lived.
The visitors would make a game of it later on, scoring five runs on Chicago starter Scott Carroll – Edwin Encarnacion's two-run swat, his first since coming back from a thigh injury, was the highlight of the push – but could draw no closer.
Despite scoring at least five runs for the third straight game, the Jays were profligate with men on base, stranding 11 runners – Hutchison settled down nicely after the first, in which he threw 39 pitches, scattering five hits and giving up just one run.
It's thin consolation for a team that needs to put a run together, but it'll have to do.
Toronto will benefit from a day off on Monday before travelling 90 minutes north to play a two-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers, who sit in first in the National League Central.