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Errors taking their toll on pitching staff

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' lack of execution on defense has become one of the early storylines in this young season.

Toronto entered Saturday afternoon's game against the Red Sox having already committed five errors on the season and was very close to receiving at least a few more.

Most of the troubles have been found at third base, where the club is clearly missing the presence of Brett Lawrie. Second base also has been an issue with Emilio Bonifacio struggling to find consistency.

"Defensively we haven't played particularly well this homestand. There's no question about that," manager John Gibbons said. "It doesn't always beat you, but it puts that extra pressure on the pitcher, and you always got your back against the wall. Everybody feels it."

Bonifacio committed two consecutive errors on a pair of ground balls during the fourth inning of Friday night's 6-4 loss to the Red Sox. The end result was an extended inning of work which likely cost right-hander Josh Johnson the ability to go past six frames.

Toronto's bullpen entered play on Saturday having already tossed 14 2/3 innings this year. That was the fourth highest number in the American League, and despite having an eight-man bullpen, the heavy workload has taken its toll.

"We needed some extra innings. The errors cost Josh Johnson maybe an extra inning of work," Gibbons said. "It just keeps adding on and adding on. That's why you'd love to get a blowout type of game and your starter goes six, seven innings and then everything can fall in line."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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