TORONTO -- Clay Buchholz continued his streak of success at Rogers Centre, delivering his team-best 11th quality start of the season to lead the Red Sox to a 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays in Monday's series opener.
The right-hander improved to 10-3 lifetime in Toronto as he lasted eight innings while allowing one earned run on five hits without walking a batter. Buchholz pitched the normally dangerous Blue Jays tough for most of the night, and he benefitted from some timely defence when needed. Alejandro De Aza ran down a key fly ball to end the sixth inning, and Pablo Sandoval started a big double play to get Boston out of the seventh after Buchholz allowed a one-out single to Chris Colabello. Koji Uehara came on to pitch a perfect ninth to record his 17th save.
Mookie Betts was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored to lead the visitors at the plate. Xander Bogaerts drove in a pair of runs and Brock Holt added an RBI as the Red Sox saddled Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey with the loss. Dickey pitched well, but he lacked run support as he allowed three earned runs on six hits over six innings as he dropped his second game in a row.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bogaerts comes up big: With the bases loaded and nobody out, Bogaerts swatted a double off the right-field wall to cash in a pair of runs, giving Boston a 2-0 lead in the third inning while extending his hitting streak to six games.
"In those RBI moments, he doesn't change his approach," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He just lets the ball travel deep."
Martin miscue: With two out in the bottom of the second, Russell Martin attempted to score from first on a Kevin Pillar double, but the Blue Jays' catcher misread the signal from third-base coach Luis Rivera and was thrown out while trying to score.
De Aza dazzles: The Red Sox's left fielder ran down a long two-out fly ball from the bat of Jose Bautista to end the sixth inning. After Josh Donaldson doubled home a run to cut Boston's lead to 3-1, the always-dangerous Bautista got ahold of a Buchholz cutter and sent it toward the gap in left-center field. But standing in for the injured Hanley Ramirez for the fifth game in a row, De Aza tracked the ball to the wall and hauled it in to end the inning.
"He's outstanding," Buchholz said. "I've said that from Day One when we got him." More >
Offense knuckles under: The Blue Jays' bats were unable to deliver once again with Dickey on the bump. Toronto had just one run on five hits in the loss despite Dickey going six innings allowing three earned runs on three hits while striking out three. In their past three games, the Blue Jays has scored just four runs on 12 hits.
"Definitely a blip in my mind," said Toronto manager John Gibbons, "but when you look back, we've run in to some good pitching. Buchholz was on today. We've seen him like that, and it's tough, because he's having himself a good year. We were bound to cool off a little bit, because we were so smoking hot. Good pitching can shut down good hitting. Not all the time, but a lot of the time." More >
"If they gotta make a decision, make it tough on them." -- Buchholz, on how to cope with trade talks
"My job is to keep us in ballgames by giving up as little runs as possible, and if I keep doing that, you got to figure that eventually the tide is going to turn" -- Dickey, on lack of run support
Farrell asked that a Martin hit-by-pitch be reviewed in the bottom of the second inning. Martin appeared to take a Buchholz changeup off the hands or wrist, but it wasn't immediately clear if the pitch hit the knob of Martin's bat first. After a 55-second review, the call was confirmed, as it was determined that the ball hit Martin in the left wrist before hitting the bat.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-1, 3.55 ERA) is coming off the shortest outing of his career after lasting only 3 2/3 innings against the Orioles on Thursday. He's faced the Blue Jays on June 14, taking a loss in a 4 2/3-innings outing.
Blue Jays: Toronto will counter with red-hot Marco Estrada (5-3, 3.54 ERA) in the 7:07 p.m. ET game. The 31-year-old right-hander has carried no-hitters into each of his last two starts.