MLB

Blue Jays-Red Sox Preview

Pablo Sandoval has played a significant role in getting the Boston Red Sox past their recent difficulties at the plate but it's unclear if he'll be healthy enough to contribute in the next game.

If Sandoval can't go, Clay Buchholz might have to duplicate his latest performance if he wants to earn his first win in four starts Tuesday night against the slumping Toronto Blue Jays.

Boston (11-9) has generated 24 runs in its last four games while batting .266 but is 2-2 because its had trouble keeping opponents off the scoreboard. The Red Sox had that problem early in Monday's series opener against the Blue Jays (9-11), allowing five runs through four innings, but rallied for a 6-5 victory.

Mookie Betts hit the game-ending single in the ninth to finish off a 3-for-4 night.

"We've hit the ball hard in some situations, where we've made outs," Betts said. "I think we'll turn the corner and today was a really good showing."

Sandoval homered and drove in three runs for the second straight game before exiting after the fifth. The third baseman, 5 for 11 in his last four contests, was hurt when he made a diving catch in the fourth.

"There was a little bit of a whiplash injury type of thing," manager John Farrell said. "We're hopeful he'll be ready (Tuesday)."

Even with Sandoval healthy, the Red Sox have scored one run in each of Buchholz's last two outings. The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA in those games after giving up a career-high 10 runs in a 14-4 loss to the New York Yankees on April 12.

"Step by step, everything's coming along as planned," he said.

Buchholz (1-2, 4.84 ERA) yielded one run and two hits in six innings against Tampa Bay on Thursday while striking out 10, but the Red Sox lost 2-1.

Buchholz went 1-0 with a 3.07 ERA in his final two starts against Toronto in 2014 - far lower than his 5.54 season mark - and will face a team that's batted .177 in an 0-4 start to its 10-game road trip.

The Blue Jays made the most of their six hits even with Jose Bautista providing little in his return from an ailing right shoulder. Bautista went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk in his first game since April 21.

Rookie Devon Travis hit his sixth homer and third in the last six games while driving in a pair of runs.

Bautista is limited to serving as designated hitter for the near future, and it's unclear when he'll resume playing in the outfield.

"I haven't even attempted to throw a baseball," Bautista told MLB's official website. "I don't even have a timeline on that. I would be guessing if I were to tell you that I know when I'm going to be able to play defense."

If he starts again, Bautista will try to give a boost to Drew Hutchison's attempt to build on one of his best starts of the season. The right-hander took a perfect game into the sixth and gave up two runs in eight innings while fanning seven in Thursday's 7-6 win against Baltimore.

Hutchison (2-0, 5.48) went 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA in his three starts against Boston in 2014 but that was skewed by a 14-1 loss in Toronto on July 21 in which he gave up six runs in 2 2-3 innings. He was 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his two outings at Fenway Park.

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