Liriano, bullpen pitch 6-hitter, Blue Jays shutout Boston Red Sox 3-0
TORONTO (AP) — Even though they came up short in a ninth-inning rally attempt a night earlier, Kevin Pillar and the Toronto Blue Jays were able to carry some much-needed momentum into Wednesday night.
Francisco Liriano and three relievers combined on a six-hitter, Darwin Barney hit a two-run single and the Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0.
Kevin Pillar had three hits for the second straight game and stole two bases as the Blue Jays won for the third time this season and improved to 2-6 on their homestand.
“I felt like the attitude and tone in here changed a little bit from what we were able to create yesterday,” Pillar said, referring to a three-run rally in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 8-7 defeat. “Guys went in there confident today and you could see it by their swings.”
Toronto scored three unearned runs in the second after Troy Tulowitzki reached leading off on a throwing error by third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Tulowitzki took third and Russell Martin reached second on a fielding error by first baseman Mitch Moreland. Barney singled with one out, and Ezequiel Carrera had a two-out RBI single.
“You give a team extra outs, we’re probably going to pay for it and we did tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
The shutout was Toronto’s first of the season.
“Just an all-around good ballgame,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It’s what it takes sometimes.”
AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (1-2) allowed six hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked one.
“I thought he deserved a better fate,” Farrell said. “That was the typical performance that Rick delivered so many times last year.”
Liriano (1-1) allowed four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“I didn’t try to do too much, I just tried to throw strikes,” Liriano said through a translator. “The defense played really well behind me.”
Betts said Liriano was able to keep the Red Sox off balance.
“He was mixing it up, throwing all his pitches for strikes,” Betts said.
After Liriano gave up consecutive singles to Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, Joe Biagini came on and got Hanley Ramirez to ground into a double play.
“When they put the ball on the ground, they found some holes,” Farrell said. “When we did, it turned into a couple of key double plays in the middle innings.”
Jason Grilli worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his first save.
Betts stuck out swinging in the fourth, snapping a streak of 129 plate appearances without a strikeout since he took a called third strike from Baltimore’s Oliver Drake on Sept. 12.
Betts was reluctant to say much about his streak, calling it “irrelevant.”
“It’s just an out to me,” he said.
Pillar swiped second and third after singling in the seventh, Toronto’s first stolen bases this season.
Boston was held scoreless for the first time since Sept. 14 against Baltimore.
WELCOME BACK, POPS
Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez rejoined the team from paternity leave one day ahead of schedule and pitched one inning in his first big league relief appearance. Left-hander Brian Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Rodriguez.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (strained elbow) threw at 120 feet on flat ground and is expected to throw off a mound in Baltimore on Friday. ... OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (right knee) went 1 for 3 with a homer at Pawtucket. He’s expected to come off the DL Friday.
Blue Jays: LHP J.P. Howell (shoulder) is expected to make a rehab appearance at Class A Dunedin on Thursday.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 1.25) went 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays last year, striking out 13 in 16 innings.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (0-1, 3.50) pitched seven shutout innings against Baltimore in his last start. He is 4-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 10 games against Boston.
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