Jays spring back to life in Boston

Blue Jays starter Aaron Laffey pitches against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., July...

Blue Jays starter Aaron Laffey pitches against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., July 20, 2012. (DOMINICK REUTER/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:15 PM ET

BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox and the Green Monster have been the death of many soft-tossing left-handers.

But you can’t count Aaron Laffey among its victims.

In his second consecutive start at ‘America’s Most Beloved Ballpark’ Laffey slammed the door shut on the mighty Red Sox crew.

Back on June 26 — his first start upon being elevated into the Toronto Blue Jays rotation — Laffey blanked Boston on three hits over six innings.

This time out, Laffey lasted seven innings and allowed eight hits but for the second time out put up nothing but zeros in a game the Jays would win 6-1.

“When you consider 13 scoreless innings in the two starts he’s made, he’s done an outstanding job for us here and in the other games that he’s pitched for us,” Jays manager John Farrell said of Laffey, who is 2-1 in his five starts. “He threw a lot of strikes and kept the ball on the ground (ground ball outs).”

With the win the Jays snapped a three-game losing skid having been swept by the New York Yankees in the opening three games of their road trip.

Laffey is far from overpowering but his ability to cut and sink his fastball in the strike zone prevented Boston from mounting much in the way of a scoring threat. He was also aided by a crisp defence that made a number of fine plays both in the infield and outfield.

“You know what he’s done such a good job of, and even compared to spring training, is that he’s evolved a little bit more since you saw him in camp,” Farrell said of what is making Laffey tick these days. “There’s extensive use of three different types of fastballs where he’s able to sink it, cut it and keep it straight. I don’t know that he threw one breaking ball tonight.”

Laffey said the bulk of the credit should go to his teammates behind him.

“I was aggressive in the zone tonight, just let them put it in play,” he said. “The defence came up time and time again making the plays.”

He admitted, though, that he’s a different pitcher from the start of the season.

“It really started from the last bullpen I threw in spring training,” Laffey said. “I never threw a cutter until this year.”

Encouraged by Bruce Walton and Pete Walker, the Jays’ pitching gurus, Laffey worked on the pitch and the rest is history.

“I started throwing a cutter and now it’s sinker-cutter is pretty much what I go with, sinker-cutter, four-seamer and use a changeup if I have to,” he said. “I didn’t throw a single breaking ball tonight, just made my cutter bigger and smaller when I had to.

“I’ve always been aggressive with fastballs and sinkers, but having that cutter now I can split the plate and it makes it a lot tougher for the guys to square up the ball.”

The game also featured the first appearance of left fielder Travis Snider, who was called up from triple-A Las Vegas. He went 1-for-4 with a double in the ninth and scored their final run.


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