Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 2

No ballpark in baseball has been kinder to Clay Buchholz than

Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

David Ortiz homered, Buchholz won his sixth straight start in

Toronto and the Boston Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 7-2 Friday night,

their fourth victory in five games.

Buchholz (5-2) won for the first time in four starts, giving up

two runs, both on solo homers, and six hits in a season-high eight

innings. He walked two and struck out seven, also a


”He’s been building to that, that’s for sure,” Red Sox manager

Bobby Valentine said. ”Clay Buchholz was terrific tonight. Extra

on his fastball, terrific changeup, changed his angle a little on

his breaking ball, threw strikes, very competitive. I like that, he

likes that and I expect we can get more of the same.”

Buchholz is the first opposing pitcher to win six straight road

starts against the Blue Jays. He has not lost in Toronto since July

17, 2009, and is 6-2 with a 1.72 ERA in eight career starts at

Rogers Centre.

Buchholz said he takes no pleasure in facing Toronto, calling

them ”dangerous,” and credited his confidence for all his strong

showings in Canada.

”Whenever I go out there and have a little bit of confidence

running through the first two or three innings, it just builds to

make you want to go back out there and make good pitches,”

Buchholz said.

Valentine said an improved changeup, something that came

together for Buchholz three starts ago, has helped bring about the

right-hander’s change in fortune.

”I think it’s made all the difference in the world,” Valentine


Buchholz found the confidence he needed early in this one. After

two straight errors put Blue Jays at first and second in the first,

Buchholz battled back from 3-0 down to strike out Jose


”Tough mental at-bat there,” said Buchholz, who followed by

getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground into a double play.

The victory moved the Red Sox level with the Blue Jays at 27-25,

tied for fourth in the AL East and three games behind first-place

Tampa Bay.

”The last few weeks we’ve really been picking it up and kind of

grinding, playing the way we should be playing, and Buch set the

tone,” Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.

Daniel Nava had three doubles and Adrian Gonzalez had three hits

for the Red Sox, who have not lost consecutive games since May 8

and 9 at Kansas City.

”Adrian needed a night like this, where he’s able to drive in

the runs and get three hits, and we needed him to do that,”

Valentine said.

Valentine said Nava, who was promoted from the minor leagues on

May 10, ”looks like as good a hitter as you want.”

”Every at bat he takes pitches that are balls and takes full

swings at pitches that are strikes,” Valentine said. ”A pretty

good combination.”

Scott Atchison finished in the ninth for the Red Sox.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jays saw their starting

pitcher hit on the lower leg by a comebacker. Two days after

Brandon Morrow had to be helped off the field after being struck on

the right leg, Henderson Alvarez was drilled on the left shin by a

one-hopper off the bat of Mike Aviles to start the fifth.

Alvarez (3-5) threw his glove down and hopped around before

lying on the ground in pain. He was treated on the field and stayed

in the game.

Catcher J.P. Arencibia, who was also behind the plate when

Morrow was hit Wednesday, said he was thinking ”Not again,” when

he saw Alvarez go down.

”That one hit him pretty square,” Arencibia said. ”You dont

want to see that two games in a row, a ball back to the pitcher.

Fortunately enough he was OK and was able to continue


Alvarez allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings,

walked one and struck out two. The second-year right-hander is 0-3

with a 6.08 ERA in his past four starts, all Blue Jays losses.

Ortiz got Boston on the board with a leadoff homer to left in

the second, his 13th, and the Red Sox made it 2-0 in the second

when Nava doubled and scored on Gonzalez’s RBI single.

Toronto cut the lead in half in the third when Yunel Escobar

snapped an 0 for 11 slump with a two-out homer, his third, but

Boston restored its two-run cushion on Saltalamacchia’s RBI

fielder’s choice.

Ryan Sweeney doubled to begin the seventh and Alvarez left after

striking out Aviles. Luis Perez came on and got Nick Punto to

ground out, then gave up four straight two-out hits.

”Two out hits are a thing of beauty, it puts the other team to

sleep,” Valentine said.

Scott Podsednik singled home a run and scored on Nava’s double

before Gonzalez and Ortiz followed with RBI singles. Ortiz was

thrown out at first to end the inning after taking too wide a turn

on his base hit off the wall in right.

Jose Bautista got another outfield assist in the ninth when he

threw out Nick Punto at second base.

Blue Jays rookie David Cooper hit an opposite field homer in the

seventh, his first.

NOTES: Boston leads the major leagues with 207 extra base hits,

including 137 doubles. … Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia (right thumb)

took grounders before the game but did not play, his fourth

straight day out of the lineup. … Boston INF Kevin Youkilis got

the day off. … The Blue Jays assigned Vladimir Guerrero to

Triple-A Las Vegas. Guerrero, who signed a minor league contract

last month, had been at Class-A Dunedin. He’ll make his Las Vegas

debut Saturday. … Boston promoted Mark Prior to Triple-A

Pawtucket. The former-first round pick had been at extended spring