TORONTO — Mark Buehrle doesn’t care how many hits he gives up as long as he’s keeping runs off the scoreboard.
The Blue Jays’ starting pitcher gave up 10 hits over seven innings but allowed just one run on Thursday as Toronto edged Boston 2-1 for its second win in a row.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating because they hit the crap out of the ball on their outs and then they don’t hit it pretty hard and they find holes,” said Buehrle. “But look, it was a great game. We came back late.
“You try to throw up zeroes as long as you can and try to give your offence a chance and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”
The win improved Buehrle’s record to 9-7 and snapped a four-game losing streak against the Red Sox that dates back to 2009.
“I know I’ve struggled against them,” said the veteran left-hander. “You’ve got to have everything going your way. You got to have runs scored for you, you got to have defence behind you, bullpen’s got to save the lead.
“Again, a win’s a win. Don’t really matter against who it is. A win’s a win, it feels good.”
Toronto (56-65) struggled to get hits off Boston starter Jake Peavy (9-5). He struck out four and gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits over six innings of work.
The Red Sox (72-51) had no trouble getting on base, but struggled to bring home their runners, stranding 12 on base. Dustin Pedroia and Daniel Nava led Boston with three hits each.
“Tonight, the story is left on base. We created a number of opportunities,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I thought we had a very good approach against Buehrle to build those opportunities, and then he made a number of quality pitches with men in scoring position.”
Peavy was in firm control for the first six innings of the game, giving up just two hits and striking out four as Boston held on to a 1-0 lead.
But the Blue Jays figured Peavy out in the seventh. Jose Bautista earned an infield single when Will Middlebrooks misplayed the ball at third base. Edwin Encarnacion’s single up the middle then advanced Bautista to second.
Brett Lawrie drove Bautista home with another single to centre field, advancing Encarnacion to third with no outs.
That ended Peavy’s night with left-handed reliever Craig Breslow replaced him on the mound.
Mark DeRosa pinch hitting for first baseman Adam Lind gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead when Encarnacion scored from third on his pop fly to left-centre field. J.P. Arencibia then flied out and Kevin Pillar struck out swinging to end the inning.
“I was able to work myself into a good hitter’s count, just trying to hit a flyball to the outfield and give us the lead,” said DeRosa.
Darren Oliver came on for Buehrle to start the eighth, getting a quick out when Stephen Drew grounded to third base. Shortstop Jose Reyes then put Boston’s Ryan Lavarnway out at first base for the second out of the inning.
Nava stroked the ball off the centre-right field wall for a double and Oliver walked Middlebrooks to put runners on first and second, but the Toronto reliever got out of the jam by fanning Jacoby Ellsbury.
Junichi Tazawa pitched in the eighth for the Red Sox, dispatching Munenori Kawasaki and Reyes. Rajai Davis reached first when his sharply hit single ricocheted off Tazawa’s glove to Drew at shortstop. Although Drew was quick to get the ball to first base, he could not beat out the speedy Davis.
Davis stole second base and advanced to third when the pickoff attempt eluded Drew. However, Toronto’s inning ended when Bautista grounded out to shortstop
Closer Casey Janssen got the final three outs of the game for the Blue Jays, earning his 22nd save of the season. He got Shane Victorino to ground out to second, then had Pedroia line out to right field before David Ortiz popped out to centre field.