TORONTO -- Extra rest for Clay Buchholz and a little sleep for most of his teammates added up to a seventh straight win for the Boston Red Sox.
Despite arriving at their hotel at about the same time the morning rush hour was beginning, the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series."I think everybody's tired, I know I was, but I thought it was a workmanlike night," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of his team that played a rain-delayed game in New York until 1:43 a.m. on Friday. "We've got to show up tomorrow after a quick turnaround and play good again."
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Francona credited Buchholz (5-3), who was given an extra two days' rest to help him deal with a sore back.The right-hander allowed three hits over seven innings while striking out six and walking two."When you've got something nagging, you don't want to mess it up any more than it already is so you sort of try to favor it a little bit," Buchholz said. "Tonight I wasn't favoring it and I was able to get some good extensions on some pitches that I needed to be extended on. It definitely felt a little different than it has the last couple of starts out."Buchholz, whose planned early flight to Toronto ended up getting canceled, said fatigue became less of a factor once the game began."Once you step between the lines everything usually just stops for you and you can run on some adrenaline, especially at this level," he said. "So that's what I went out there doing."Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 5 with three runs scored and AL RBI leader Adrian Gonzalez drove in two runs to lead the Red Sox.Gonzalez's fifth-inning single gave the first baseman seven consecutive games with at least one run driven in. He drove in another run with a ground-rule double off reliever Shawn Camp in the ninth that made it 5-1."It's just guys in front of me are getting on base and giving me opportunities every time," Gonzalez said. "RBIs are not a personal thing."Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia drove in a run each for Boston, which improved its league-best record to 37-26.Pedroia, who returned to the lineup after missing Thursday's series finale in New York so doctors could examine his sore right knee, finished 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Toronto starter Jo-Jo Reyes and dropped the Blue Jays to .500 (32-32).Reyes (2-5) had gone a record-tying 28 starts without a win before beating Cleveland 11-1 on May 30 in the first complete game of his career.The left-hander gave up eight hits and two walks before Blue Jays manager John Farrell replaced him with Luis Perez with one out and a runner on first in the seventh.Perez hit a batter but escaped the inning without further damage, leaving the 27-year-old Reyes charged with four runs in 6 1/3 innings.Both teams went hitless for two innings before Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the top of the third with a bloop single to shallow right field. Ellsbury's ground-rule double down the left field line put runners at second and third before Pedroia's infield single scored Saltalamacchia to make it 1-0.Boston went ahead 2-0 when Ellsbury scored on a double play ball hit by Gonzalez.Corey Patterson had Toronto's first hit -- a single to left leading off the fourth. He moved to third on a double by Jose Bautista before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Juan Rivera that trimmed Boston's lead to 2-1.The Red Sox got two runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Gonzalez and Youkilis.Reliever Daniel Bard took over from Buchholz to start the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon finished up what had become a non-save situation with a shutout ninth.
Bautista, the AL home run leader with 20, failed to go deep for a 12th straight game, the longest drought for the outfielder since a 13-game run last season when Bautista hit a majors-best 54. ... Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar missed his second straight game and is day-to-day because of soreness in his left quadriceps. ... Saltalamacchia played his first game since being taken to a New York hospital on Wednesday because of a stomach ailment that required the catcher to receive several doses of intravenous fluids. "He might not be his most energetic self, but sometimes you've just got to play," Francona said. Saltalamacchia's illness forced 39-year-old Jason Varitek, who on Wednesday teamed with 44-year-old Tim Wakefield to form the oldest battery in Red Sox history, to play in consecutive games. "I told him 'I owe you a steak dinner,'" Saltalamacchia said. "But he told me 'I've caught two days in a row before, so that's not the issue.'" ... Gonzalez previously had three streaks of six games with at least one RBI.