Buchholz schools Jays once more

Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz throws to first trying to pick-off Blue Jays base runner...

Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz throws to first trying to pick-off Blue Jays base runner Kelly Johnson at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., June 1, 2012. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:41 PM ET

TORONTO - Kyle Drabek will be making the start for the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday afternoon and if he comes to the mound wearing shin guards you can’t blame him.

For the second consecutive game, a Jays starter was drilled by a comebacker, this time a Mike Aviles one-hopper that nailed Henderson Alvarez in the left shin in the fifth inning.

After writhing on the turf in agony for a short while, Alvarez came alive like Lazarus to continue with the game, but it was Toronto's offence that couldn’t rise from the dead.

Held to six hits and two runs over eight innings by Jays killer Clay Buchholz, the Boston Red Sox rolled over the Jays 7-2 Friday and climbed into fourth place in the AL East along with the Jays, both teams sporting 27-25 records.

Toronto's previous game, on Wednesday, Brandon Morrow got zapped on the mound when a laser off the bat of Baltimore Orioles’ Wilson Betemit drilled him on the right shin, forcing him to leave the game.

Alvarez gave up Boston's third run in the sixth and one more in the Red Sox’s four-run seventh as the game was put away against the ineffective relief job of Luis Perez.

It all added up to an indifferent performance by the Jays, who had their modest three-game win streak come to a halt.

Daniel Nava collected four hits and scored three runs for Boston but it was the solo shot by David Ortiz in the second that powered the Red Sox into a lead they would not relinquish.

It was the 30th home run that Ortiz has hit at the Rogers Centre, the most he has hit at any stadium not named Fenway. It's the second-most that any opponent has hit here. Alex Rodriguez leads with 34.

Other than solo home runs by Yunel Escobar in the third and David Cooper in the seventh, the Jays could do little against Buchholz, who pitched his way out of two-on, no-out jams in the first and fifth.

“We had a couple of opportunities in the first and the fifth and each time Buchholz was able to induce a ground-ball double play to prevent any type of inning to be mounted against him,” Jays manager John Farrell said.

Alvarez, who has three loses and a no-decision in his past four starts, gave up four runs on eight hits in his 6 1/3 innings.

“Henderson kept us in the ball game,” Farrell said. “He didn’t feel any ill effects off the ground ball off his shin. He stayed in it, but (Boston) bunched their hits together in the seventh to spread things out.”

Farrell was asked what his thoughts are after having two pitchers get nailed in consecutive games on comebackers.

“Fortunately in both cases we’ve been able to avoid any serious injury,” Farrell said. “He was able to continue on tonight. It hit him pretty flush in that right shin bone but I don’t think it had any ill effects.”

While the Red Sox totalled 15 hits on the night, their top performer was on the mound.

Buchholz entered the game with a 4-2 record and an unsightly ERA of 7.19.

But he always saves his best for the Jays and this night was no different.

Buchholz has won each of his past six starts at the Rogers Centre to become the first opposing pitcher to do so. With the win, his lifetime record against the Jays moved to 8-3.

What’s the basis of his magic against the Jays?

“Four pitches for strikes, good stuff,” Farrell offered. “After about the third inning he got into a much better rhythm and groove. He kept the ball down in the strike zone and with four pitches for strikes, he’s going to slow some people down.”

Among Buchholz’ victims was J.P. Arencibia who was 0-for-4. In his career he is 0-for-12 against the Red Sox right-hander.

“No idea,” Arencibia replied when asked why he owns the Jays. “Today he commanded the ball well. He cut the ball away from us (right-handers) a lot, made some good off-speed pitches and kept us off-balance.”

What was going through his mind when Alvarez got drilled?

“Not again,” Arencibia said. “That one hit him pretty square too. You don’t want to see that happen two games in a row, the ball back at the pitcher. Fortunately he was OK and was able to continue pitching for us.”

Drabek gets the call Saturday.

They say third time’s a charm.


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