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TOR@BAL: Hutchison tosses seven scoreless frames

Things won't get any easier for the Blue Jays as they open a two-game set against the National League Central-leading Brewers on Tuesday at Rogers Centre.

Toronto, though it still leads the American League East, has won only one of its last seven series, and just dropped three of four games to the White Sox. Milwaukee, on the other hand, has the most wins in baseball in June with 18.

The Blue Jays will send right-hander Drew Hutchison, who had an up-and-down June, to the mound. In two of Hutchison's starts this month, he went seven scoreless innings. In the other three, he gave up at least four runs each time out, allowing 13 earned runs in those 13 1/3 innings.

One Blue Jays hitter who is still hot is first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, who followed up his franchise record-setting 16-homer May with a seven-homer June in which he hit over .300.

The Brewers are back in action Tuesday afternoon after clearing a stretch of 20 games in 20 days, a potentially trouble-making stretch that saw them instead go 13-7 and increase their lead in the division over the Cardinals.

"Physically, we're starting to show the effects of it, but obviously the way we've played has been outstanding," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Guys come in here with energy every day -- that's probably the biggest thing. The mental part of it, I think, has been really good. The starting pitchers have kept us in all the ballgames, and the offense is really good."

Roenicke and his coaches are intent on keeping things rolling. Particularly on the pitching side, Roenicke and pitching coach Rick Kranitz have been debating how to best manage the team's rotation through the All-Star break. The Brewers' tendency is to keep all five starters in line, as they did this week despite days off before and after the two-game series in Toronto. But Roenicke indicated the plan is subject to change.

On Tuesday, right-hander Marco Estrada will start for Milwaukee. Estrada had a rocky June, with starts of four, five, six and seven earned runs allowed, although he still managed a 2-2 record -- including a win in the seven-run outing.

Blue Jays: Bautista grounds out in pinch-hit return
Jose Bautista grounded into a fielder's choice in a pinch-hit appearance with two outs and two runners on in the sixth inning of Sunday's series finale against the White Sox. It was his first appearance since aggravating a left hamstring injury last Sunday against the Reds.

Bautista pinch-hit for catcher Dioner Navarro, who was 0-for-2 in the game. Navarro was replaced by backup catcher Josh Thole behind the plate in the seventh inning.

Bautista did some light running in the outfield prior to Sunday's game and was deemed available to pinch-hit. Under the supervision of club trainers, he ran along the warning track at an estimated 50-60 percent, he said, and went through a series of stretches to test his strained left hamstring. Bautista said he could still feel something in the back of his leg when running, but that he didn't experience the same feeling when he hit in the cages.

The Blue Jays have an off-day Monday before returning to action Tuesday vs. Milwaukee, and Bautista is hoping he'll be in the starting lineup for that game.

"Everybody knows I can't go out on the field and not be 100 percent," said Bautista, who has 15 home runs. "Hopefully by Tuesday I feel better and I can be in the outfield. If not, I can DH the whole game and play the day after."

Brewers: Gomez, Segura expected back in lineup vs. Toronto
Center fielder Carlos Gomez was feeling better than expected the morning after his outfield collision on Saturday and deemed himself available to play Sunday, but he began the finale against the Brewers on the bench out of caution.

Shortstop Jean Segura, meanwhile, sat out because of cramping in his left quad.

The decisions were partially influenced by the promotion of utility man Jeff Bianchi -- giving the Brewers an extra position player on the roster who could start in place of Segura on Sunday -- and also by the fact that Monday is an off-day. By giving Gomez a day to clear his head and Segura a day to rest his legs, Roenicke was actually giving both players two days.

"We're doing OK as far as player availability," Roenicke said. "'Gomez is actually pretty good, and we were going back and forth on whether to play him or not. I asked him how he was doing, and we decided off today would help with the one tomorrow.

Roenicke indicated after Sunday's game that Segura could be considered questionable for Tuesday.

Gomez exited Saturday's win over the Rockies after colliding in right-center field with Ryan Braun, and he also banged his head in Friday night's game. He passed a concussion test Saturday night but was experiencing a bit of a headache Sunday morning and some pain near his left ear.

Worth noting
• The Blue Jays' 28 home runs this June gave them 167 total homers in the month since 2010, the most of any team over that span. Toronto also leads the Majors this season with 108 homers.

• With his 27th save of the season on Saturday, Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez tied the franchise record for saves before the All-Star break. He shares the mark with Francisco Cordero, who set it in 2007. Comments