Dustin Pedroia hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning and the Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays, 5-1, on Tuesday.
The Blue Jays wasted an impressive effort from Aaron Laffey, who made his first start since 2010. The lefty tossed six shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out two.
He was relieved by Jason Frasor, who allowed Jarrod Saltalamacchia to tie the game with a two-out solo homer over the Green Monster.
Ryan Kalish followed with a double off of Luis Perez (2-2) before David Pauley hit Daniel Nava and walked Mike Aviles to load the bases. Pedroia then slapped a grounder up the middle for a 3-1 lead.
"It seems like it's been so long since he has been in that opportunity late in the game," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
In the eighth, Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double and Will Middlebrooks capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly for the Red Sox, winners of eight of their last 10 games.
Andrew Miller (2-0) got the decision after stranding a runner at third in the top of the seventh. Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings and remains winless in four starts this season since returning from Tommy John surgery.
"That was his best effort (of the season)," Valentine said of Matsuzaka.
Brett Lawrie helped the Blue Jays to a 1-0 lead when he began the game with a double and later scored on Edwin Encarnacion's infield single.
The rubber match of this three-game series is set for Wednesday.
Toronto had won seven of 10 coming in, including Monday's opener, but failed to capitalize on Laffey's unexpected effectiveness. The spot starter retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single by Aviles in the first, then worked around Gonzalez's leadoff double in the fifth.
Pedroia drew a walk with one down in the sixth but was thrown out at the plate on David Ortiz's double to left. The high fly ball caromed off the Green Monster and bounced over the head of Rajai Davis, but the left fielder recovered and delivered a strike to retire Pedroia, who atoned an inning later.
Laffey's previous start was July 19, 2010. He has made four relief appearances for the Blue Jays this season...Matsuzaka is 0-2 on the season...Saltalamacchia leads major league catchers with 14 home runs...The Red Sox announced earlier Tuesday that pitcher Clay Buchholz has been diagnosed with esophagitis. The condition led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed. Buchholz, who was evaluated at Massachusetts General Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, landed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday because of the issue.