David Ortiz says he’s as surprised as anyone with the Blue Jays’ poor performance this year.

“When I saw what they put together in the offseason I was like ‘Whoa this is the competition.’ ”
Of course it didn’t turn out that way as Ortiz’s first-place Red Sox sit a comfortable 15 games ahead of the last-place Jays.

But Toronto at least lived up to Big Papi’s expectations over these last three games.

The Jays eked out their second straight one-run victory over Boston on Thursday with Brett Lawrie once again coming through in the clutch to drive in the game-tying run with a single in the seventh inning. Mark DeRosa pinch-hitting for Adam Lind followed suit with a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run and give the Jays a 2-1 victory on the back of a hard-fought outing by Mark Buehrle.

The veteran lefty battled throughout the night giving up 10 hits and allowing a runner to reach third base in all but two of his seven innings. But as he has done so well throughout his 13-year career Buehrle fought his way out of almost every jam.

“That’s who he is” Jays manager John Gibbons said of his starting pitcher. “He bends he just doesn’t break.”

The Jays meanwhile mounted little against Boston’s tough right-hander Jake Peavy — acquired before the trade deadline from the White Sox — until Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion combined for a pair of singles to leadoff the seventh paving the way for the win.

Ortiz who has returned from an injury riddled 2012 campaign to resume his place as one of the premier designated hitters in the game said the lofty expectations for the Jays even extended to his native Dominican Republic.

“In my country they started calling them the Dominican Blue Jays and everybody was waiting for the season to start just to see what that team was going to be like — I mean the whole country. But then injuries kick in and all that stuff.”

Ortiz is good friends with many Jays — namely his Dominican brethren: Jose Reyes Bautista and Encarnacion — and his assessment of the team’s struggles is generous.

The Jays have certainly endured their share of injuries this season — losing Reyes for half the season and getting just 10 starts out of Brandon Morrow chief among them — but they have also flat-out stunk and their last-place standing is better explained by their poor starting pitching.