New Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos had no reason to fault the fans who booed him off the mound at his first home opener in Toronto.
Santos blew his second save opportunity in three games, surrendering a sacrifice fly to Adrian Gonzalez and a go-ahead single by Ryan Sweeney, and the Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the Blue Jays 4-2 on Monday, spoiling Toronto's home opener and avoiding the first back-to-back 0-4 starts in team history.
Acquired from the White Sox at the winter meetings and handed the closer's role in Toronto's rebuilt bullpen, Santos didn't do much to impress his new fans, giving up three runs, two hits and three walks in 2/3 of an inning before leaving to a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd of 48,473.
"I'd be booing, too," Santos said. "It wasn't pretty. It's tough because you feel you let 24 other guys down that you have been working hard with for the last two months."
Dustin Pedroia homered as Boston bounced back after being swept in Detroit to start the season.
Handed a 2-1 lead to start the ninth, Santos (0-1) surrendered a leadoff double to Pedroia, who advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez.
Kevin Youkilis struck out before David Ortiz and Cody Ross drew consecutive walks. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Bruce Walton, Sweeney grounded an RBI single through the right side.
Darnell McDonald, pinch-running for Ortiz, slid home safely when Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia couldn't handle the throw from Jose Bautista, a miscue that also allowed both runners to advance. Ross scored soon after when Santos uncorked a wild pitch that bounced into Boston's dugout along the first base line.
Making his first home appearance since being acquired in a December trade with the White Sox, Santos was booed loudly when Blue Jays manager John Farrell came out to replace him with Luis Perez, who ended the inning by getting Mike Aviles to ground into a fielder's choice.
Farrell said Santos may have been trying to do too much.
"I thought he started to overthrow his fastball," Farrell said. "He yanked a number of pitches out of the strike zone."
Despite Santos' struggles, Farrell insisted he had no intention of changing roles.
"Sergio remains our closer," Farrell said.
Scott Atchison (1-0) worked three shutout innings for his first win since July 23, 2010, and Alfredo Aceves closed it out with a perfect ninth for his first save, rebounding after failing to retire a batter in his two previous outings this season.
"His breaking ball was really good, his fastball was crisp," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.
After making a diving catch to rob Jarrod Saltalamacchia of a hit in the top of the third, center fielder Colby Rasmus got Toronto's offense started in the bottom half, hitting a one-out triple up the alley in right center. Yunel Escobar walked before Rasmus scored on Kelly Johnson's fielder's choice grounder to the mound, sliding in just ahead of Saltalamacchia's swipe tag.
Bautista flied out before Edwin Encarnacion doubled Toronto's lead with an RBI single to left.
Blue Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez kept the Red Sox off the board until the sixth, when Pedroia hit a solo home run to left center, his first.
"He's got great stuff," Pedroia said of Alvarez. "His two-seam fastball is pretty darn good. He's going to be really good for a long time. I wish he wasn't in our division."
The homer was the only run allowed by Alvarez, who gave up four hits in six innings, walked one and struck out a pair.
Making his fourth career start, and his first since July 16, 2010, Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront allowed two runs and four hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out a career-high six.
NOTES: The Blue Jays are 26-10 in home openers, but have lost two of the past three. ... Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine tweaked his lineup by putting Youkilis in the cleanup spot, between Gonzalez and Ortiz. ... Toronto OF Travis Snider, currently at Triple-A Las Vegas, has been held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons the past two days after jamming a finger diving back into first base. ... In an effort to avoid crowd control problems, the Blue Jays limited beer sales in the upper deck to one per customer, per trip — half the amount permitted at regular games. Concession stands elsewhere in the stadium were not affected. Ironically, fans in the lower levels threw debris on the field in the third inning, and were seen fighting in the fifth.