Clay Buchholz tries to keep his perfect record intact on Saturday when the Boston Red Sox continue a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
Buchholz has yet to allow an earned run in 11 innings since missing more than three months with a right bursa sac strain. After tossing five scoreless innings in his return on Sept. 10, Buchholz was again masterful against the New York Yankees on Sunday, holding them to an unearned run and two hits over six innings.
He did walk four batters, but still improved to 11-0 to go along with a sparkling 1.51 ERA.
"Yeah, it wasn't as simple as the last time out," said Buchholz, who has won his last five starts. "I was battling some command issues there early. The defense behind me got a big couple of double-play balls after some lead runners got on. I felt like as the game went on I got stronger as far as the command. The best inning I felt was the last inning that I threw. That was a good sign for me. Other than that, I just battled my way through it."
Boston wrapped up the American League East in Friday's opener, as Mike Carp had three RBI to power the Red Sox to a 6-3 win.
After clinching a playoff spot Thursday, the Red Sox captured the division for the first time since 2007, and just a year removed from finishing in last place.
"Winning the American League East is something everybody in here should be proud of," Boston manager John Farrell said. "When we got in the playoffs last night - to see there was no response, there was no celebration, that to me spoke as much volume as anything we've done in the year. It's a focused group. It's their time tonight to go and enjoy it."
David Ortiz also drove in a run, while Daniel Nava was 2-for-5 with two runs scored for the Red Sox, who have won two straight and five of seven. Jon Lester (15-8) gave up a run on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings.
Adam Lind hit a two-run homer and Rajai Davis was 2-for-5 with two runs scored for the Blue Jays, who have dropped seven of 10 and will finish the season in last place in the AL East. Esmil Rogers (5-8) gave up two runs on three hits and five walks in just 2 1/3 innings to take the loss.
On Saturday, Toronto will rely on lefty Mark Buehrle, who has lost his last two starts. Buehrle had turned his season around by winning six straight decisions over a span of nine starts, but has dropped his last two outings. After getting roughed up by the Los Angeles Angels, Buehrle lost to Baltimore on Sunday, allowing three runs (2 earned) and six hits in five innings to fall to 11-9 despite lowering his ERA to 4.17.
"It was a battle for him today, but he has that knack of hanging around and surviving and keeping you in the game, and he did that today," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He had a rough one his last time out, but he kept the game in check right there without his best stuff. The guys that survive the game for a long time and have a lot of success ... they figure it out (without their best stuff), they have guts, they will themselves to win, and get some big outs. Everybody can't do that, but he's one of the guys that can."
Boston is 10-7 versus the Jays this season.