Red Sox back Paxton with 3 home runs and snap their 5-game skid with a 5-0 win over the Blue Jays
Jarren Duran hit a two-run homer, James Paxton and two relievers combined on a three-hitter and the Boston Red Sox snapped a season-worst five-game losing streak by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 5-0 on Friday night.
Justin Turner and Masataka Yoshida each hit a solo home run and Turner added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which totaled four runs in its previous four games.
“It was a good night,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We did some good things. We needed this one.”
Paxton (4-1) pitched a season-high 7 2/3 innings for his third straight win as the Red Sox recorded their first shutout of the year and improved to 5-0 against the Blue Jays. Toronto won 16 of 19 meetings last season.
In his previous start at the Chicago White Sox last weekend, Paxton left after four innings because of a sore right knee. Against Toronto, the Canadian-born lefty set down the first eight batters in order and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until the eighth inning. He walked two and struck out seven.
“It was really fun,” Paxton said. “I’ve got some friends in the stands tonight, a cousin. It was fun to be out pitching in Canada this close to Canada Day.”
Duran had a good view of Paxton’s performance from center field.
“It was nice to just watch him cruise and do his thing, just kind of sit out there and watch,” Duran said. “Sometimes I caught myself not paying attention because he was just grooving.”
Cora said Paxton did “an amazing job” against the Blue Jays. The left-hander is 5-1 in seven career starts in Toronto.
“We needed something like this for the bullpen,” Cora said.
Chris Martin replaced Paxton with runners at first and second and struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Belt to end the eighth. Kaleb Ort finished for the Red Sox.
Toronto is 7-18 against AL East opponents.
“I don’t know why we don’t play so well against the American League East,” right-hander José Berríos said.
The Blue Jays were blanked for the third time this season and the second time in four games. Toronto lost 3-0 to San Francisco on Tuesday.
Turner opened the scoring with a leadoff home run in the fifth, his 12th.
Duran connected after Connor Wong’s leadoff double in the sixth, his fourth. Two batters later, Yoshida launched one over the Boston bullpen in right field, his ninth.
All three homers came off Berríos (8-6), matching a career worst. It’s the eighth time Berríos has given up three home runs.
Berríos allowed four runs and five hits in six innings to lose for the second time in three starts. He walked none and struck out eight.
Blue Jays: LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (Tommy John surgery) is set to make his first minor league rehab start Tuesday, either in the rookie-level Florida Complex League or the Class A Florida State League. Ryu last pitched for Toronto on June 1, 2022.
Duran made a leaping catch at the center-field wall to retire Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the final out of the first inning.
“We’ve been struggling defensively for a while,” Cora said. “To make that play, that was good.”
Yoshida is batting .571 (12 for 21) with two doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs in five games against the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (7-2, 3.75 ERA) starts for Toronto in Saturday afternoon’s Canada Day game. RHP Kutter Crawford (2-4, 4.01) goes for the Red Sox. Boston will face a left-handed starter for the fourth time in six games.