Buchholz entered the contest at 1-3 — compared to Halladay’s 13-5 — but Boston’s hurler allowed just one run over six innings and let his offense chip away at the former Cy Young Award winner.
Boston got on the board in the second thanks to David Ortiz’s solo blast just over the fence in right field. Big Papi slapped at an off-speed offering from Halladay and got just enough wood on it to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. The homer was Ortiz’s fourth in five games and his third in three games. The Sox took a 2-0 lead later that frame when Alex Gonzalez smacked an RBI-single up the middle to plate Casey Kotchman.
The Sox took a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Jacoby Ellsbury launched a two-out triple to the wall in right-center to plate Gonzalez who had singled off Halladay one pitch earlier.
Jason Bay gave the Sox a couple of insurance runs in the fifth with a two-run line shot over the left-field fence. The homer was Bay’s third in his last four games and seventh through 19 days this month after hitting just one homer in the entire month of July.
Victor Martinez popped a solo blast in the ninth as pitchers Ramon Ramirez, Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito held the Jays scoreless in three innings of relief behind Buchholz's strong start.
Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 19, 2009
Headliner: No one expected Clay Buchholz to out-duel Roy Halladay, but the young righty did just that as he led Boston to a 6-1 win over the Jays. Buchholz went six innings and held the Jays to just one run on six hits while walking just one batter for his second win of the season, both of which have come against Toronto.
Buchholz retired the first seven batters he faced and, although he struck out just four batters, the young righty was able to lower his ERA from 4.45 to 3.99 before he ran out of gas after the sixth, when he escaped a bases-loaded jam. In his last two starts, he’s held opponents to two earned runs on 11 hits in 13 total innings.
Dirt dog: Alex Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI. Gonzalez drove in Boston’s second run in the second inning and scored the team's third run on Jacoby Ellsbury’s triple in the fourth. The Sox’ newest shortstop is riding a three-game hitting streak during which he’s notched four hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Better luck next time: Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay was roughed up for five runs (four earned) on eight hits in just five innings. Aside from his start on June 12 in which he left after three innings with a sore groin, it was Halladay’s shortest outing of the season and shortest since June 14, 2008. Although he struck out seven Red Sox batters, he walked two — the most free passes he’s offered in the past five starts.
Key moment: With two down in the second, first baseman Casey Kotchman — he of eight career steals in six major league seasons prior to Wednesday night — swiped second base to put himself in scoring position for the No. 9 hitter Alex Gonzalez. Gonzo, who came into the game batting just .209 (combined between the Sox and Reds), roped a single up the middle to plate Kotchman for Boston’s second and the eventual game-winning run.
On deck: The Red Sox shoot for the series sweep as they bid farewell to the Rogers Centre on Thursday. Jon Lester takes the bump against Brett Cecil in Boston’s final game of the season north of the border.
Boston’s lefty is winless in his last four starts — earning no-decisions in each game despite strong outings. The lefty held the opposition to just one run in two of those four starts and struck out 11 batters in his last start, when he went six innings and allowed three earned runs on six hits in Boston’s 8-4 win over Texas on Aug. 14. This season, Lester is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA against the Jays but lost his last time out against them after allowing three runs on five hits in seven innings in Toronto. In fact, Lester has struggled at the Rogers Centre in his young career, going just 1-3 with a 5.28 ERA in five starts.
Lester, at 9-7 with a 3.71 ERA, is shooting for his second straight season with 10 wins or more. The southpaw went 16-6 a season ago — his first and only other MLB season with double-digit victories.
Cecil, a rookie, is searching for his sixth win in his 13th start of the season and will be facing the BoSox for the second time this season. The lefty took the loss back on May 20 when he allowed eight runs on 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings at Fenway Park. Cecil is 5-1 with a 4.35 ERA overall and has won his last three decisions.