Red Sox turn to Buchholz in opener with Blue Jays

Boston righty Clay Buchholz tries to build upon his best start of the season this evening when the Red Sox open a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Buchholz didn't get a decision on Sunday against Tampa Bay, but allowed just two runs and eight hits and struck out six in seven innings of his team's 4-3 loss. It was just the third time in 10 starts this season that Buchholz had allowed less than five runs.

"The big thing was, I stayed out of the middle of the plate, for the most part," said Buchholz, who is 4-2 with a 7.19 ERA. "When I missed I missed off the plate, either away or in. I felt like I was able to throw almost all my pitches for strikes at some point during the game. I felt this good my past three starts, I just hadn't had the results."

Buchholz has a terrific chance of putting another impressive outing on the board, as he is 7-3 lifetime versus the Blue Jays with a 2.58 ERA in 12 games (11 starts). He's been even better in Toronto, where he is 5-2 with a 1.62 ERA in seven starts.

Boston will be trying to get back into the win column tonight after failing to complete a four-game sweep of Detroit, as it dropped a 7-3 decision to the Tigers on Thursday at Fenway Park.

Josh Beckett (4-5), who had allowed only three runs in his previous three starts, gave up four runs on 10 hits with just one strikeout over seven innings.

Toronto, meanwhile, comes into tonight's tilt riding high after sweeping the Baltimore Orioles. The Jays completed the hat trick with a 4-1 win on Wednesday.

Colby Rasmus homered in the win and is batting .333 with three home runs and seven RBI in his last 10 games after going hitless in his 17 prior at-bats.

Getting the call for the Jays tonight will be righty Henderson Alvarez, who is 3-4 with a 3.56 ERA and is winless in his last three starts. Alvarez did not get a decision on Saturday in Texas, as he was hit for five runs (4 earned) and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. ALvarez was ejected from the game after throwing inside on Ian Kinsler after serving up back-to-back-to-back home runs.

Alvarez has faced the Red Sox twice without getting a decision, but has surrendered just one run in 12 innings of work against them.

The Blue Jays took two of three from the Red Sox earlier in the season.