Buchholz shines again as Red Sox beat Jays, 4-3
BOSTON (AP) Clay Buchholz had a simple reason for his recent success.
Buchholz had his third straight solid start and the Boston Red Sox beat Toronto 4-3 Saturday night, damaging the Blue Jays' fading playoff hopes.
''It all comes with fastball command,'' he said. ''If you're throwing your fastball for strikes, everything else feeds off that.''
Buchholz (7-8) gave up two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings to help Boston get its second straight win against Toronto. He struck out five and walked two.
Edward Mujica, Boston's fourth reliever, got the final two outs for his fourth save.
But it was Buchholz's start that carried the Red Sox to just their second win in eight games at Fenway Park against the Blue Jays this season.
''He might not have been as sharp as his last time out,'' Boston manager John Farrell said. ''He's still in a really good run, not only the last three times out, but in the last month, month and a half. He's throwing the ball very consistently.''
Colby Rasmus had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the seventh for the Blue Jays, who began the day five games behind Seattle for the AL's second wild card.
''We're still in this thing. We're hanging on by a thread,'' Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ''They've been two close ballgames, they could have gone either way, but we just came up short.''
The Red Sox scored single runs in the first four innings off J.A. Happ (9-9) after the Blue Jays jumped ahead 1-0 on Dioner Navarro's RBI double.
Happ gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings.
''I wasn't sharp in the first inning, but after that I actually felt like I was making pitches,'' he said.
Dustin Pedroia's run-scoring grounder tied it in the first and Boston moved ahead on Will Middlebrooks' RBI single in the second. Yoenis Cespedes had an RBI double in the third and Christian Vazquez added an RBI double.
Buchholz left with a 4-1 lead in the seventh before Craig Breslow gave up Rasmus' homer that hooked around the right-field foul pole.
In his last start, Buchholz shut out Tampa Bay with a three-hitter on Sunday. On Aug. 25 in Toronto, he held Toronto scoreless over eight innings before leaving with the bases loaded in the ninth. The bullpen allowed all three runners to score before Boston pulled out a 4-3 win in extra innings.
Mookie Betts made a running catch, going to his knees to snag a bloop in short center to save a run, ending the eighth.
Buchholz gave up two hits in the first two innings then retired the 12 straight batters before Jose Bautista's leadoff double in the sixth. After walking the next batter, Buchholz helped himself by grabbing Adam Lind's grounder to the mound and firing to second, starting a 1-6-3 double play. Navarro then lined out to center.
BIG PAPI SHOWS SOME SPEED
David Ortiz lumbered from first, scoring on Cespedes' RBI double into the right-center field gap. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Ortiz came in standing up when RF Bautista overthrew the cutoff.
Blue Jays: Kevin Pillar started in left field a day after Melky Cabrera was lost for the season with a fractured right pinkie finger. Cabrera, a big part of the lineup, was second in the majors with 171 hits when he was injured, batting .301 with 19 homers and 73 RBIs.
Red Sox: INF/OF and leadoff hitter Brock Holt, who left Friday's win early with dizziness, was out of the lineup, but manager Farrell said he was available to play. Farrell said he decided to get an extra right-handed batter in the lineup against left-handed starter Happ. First baseman Mike Napoli left because an illness after the second inning.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (11-12, 3.94 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday in the series finale. He has won two of his last three starts, going seven strong innings, allowing just two runs and two hits in his last one on Sept. 2.
Red Sox: Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.89) is slated to get the start. He's winless in his last four starts.
The three children of a Kevin Houston, a Navy SEAL from Cape Cod that was killed in Afghanistan in early August, delivered the game ball to the pitcher's mound before the start. They received a standing ovation.
The start was delayed 72 minutes by a thunderstorm that didn't bring much rain, but had a lot of thunder and lightning.