The Blue Jays may be double-digit games behind in the American League East standings, but they're embracing the role of spoiler.
After a 3-2 win in the opener against the Royals on Friday night, Toronto will send R.A. Dickey to the mound on Saturday afternoon looking for its fourth win in the last five games. Dickey will be opposed by Kansas City right-hander Jeremy Guthrie.
Dickey, last year's National League Cy Young Award winner, is coming off a strong outing where he allowed just one earned run with six strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings against the Yankees last Monday. He's recorded two straight quality starts at Rogers Centre with just four earned runs in his last 13 1/3 innings.
"He gave us just what we needed," manager John Gibbons said. "He was brought here to win games, and that's all that matters. He's on a nice little roll. He's pitching pretty good, so he's got to feel good."
Guthrie is also coming off a strong outing -- snapping a personal three-game losing streak on Monday against Tampa Bay. He allowed just one run on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in an 11-1 rout.
The right-hander held the Rays scoreless through the first three innings before giving up a leadoff double and RBI single in the fourth. He loaded the bases with a single, double and a walk, but ended the inning with another strikeout.
"We had a couple of tough situations and I was really pleased to get out of them," Guthrie said. "I don't think I pitched great, but it's almost like we won in spite of me, and I am happy to stay out of the way of what those guys were doing with their bats."
Guthrie will make his 28th start, as he is 13-10 with a 4.19 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 171 2/3 innings. The Royals have won 16 of his starts and the bullpen has allowed just one run in those games. The 'pen has a 1.24 ERA in his 27 starts.
Blue Jays: Janssen looking to continue as closer
Right-hander Casey Janssen has been nearly perfect in save situations this season and has provided a bright spot for the Blue Jays, who are 13 games below .500.
Janssen is 4-1 with 25 saves in 27 opportunities and a 2.86 ERA to go with 38 strikeouts in 44 innings. With a $4 million club option for 2014, he looks like a bargain for the club.
"The focus is always on staying healthy, finishing strong, and putting yourself in a position that the front office, and the eyes that are on you, are satisfied with you as a product," Janssen said.
Janssen entered Spring Training in a competition with Sergio Santos for the closer's role, but Janssen is hoping he's proven himself this season.
"I don't think anyone aspires to be vice president. I think everyone wants to be president," Janssen said. "I love being a closer; I enjoy the pressure, and being able to impact games."
Royals: Bonifacio making first appearance in Toronto as an opponent
For the first time since he was traded from the Blue Jays to the Royals on Aug. 14, Emilio Bonifacio returned to Rogers Centre.
Bonifacio batted second and started at second base on Friday night -- going 1-for-3 with an RBI. Since joining the Royals, Bonifacio -- who hit .218 for the Blue Jays -- has raised his batting average to .230.
"First of all, I have been getting more time and getting the opportunity to get my timing back, that's the main thing," Bonifacio said. "I feel pretty good at the plate. It was a little bit hard playing one day and then not.
"But I gave 100 percent every time [the Blue Jays] needed me. I know it's a long season. I just kept working hard and tried to get better every day."
It didn't work out for him in Toronto, but Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he's still pulling for Bonifacio.
"He's a guy you root for," Gibbons said. "It's early over there, but hopefully he has found a home. He's a guy you always root for because he's a quality guy, and he's very talented."
• Guthrie has faced Toronto 19 times, all with Baltimore, and is 3-7 with a 3.46 ERA.
• In seven games with the Blue Jays, Ryan Goins is batting .423 (11-for-26).
• The Royals are leading the Majors with 122 stolen bases. They've swiped 35 bags in their last 20 games.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.