Blue Jays welcome Farrell back to Rogers Centre

John Farrell returns to Toronto on Friday when the Boston Red Sox begin a three-game set with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Farrell, of course, managed the Blue Jays the last two years, compiling a 154-170 mark. He left this offseason for a chance to manage the Red Sox, for whom he was the team's pitching coach before making the jump to Toronto.

"Definitely looking forward to it," Farrell said. "They've got a good team. We're looking to compete against them. I'm sure the excitement that's around the Blue Jays because of the changes they've gone through in the offseason, this will be a very good challenge for us."

Boston was denied a sweep in its season-opening series against the New York Yankees on Thursday, as Andy Pettitte shut it down in a 4-2 loss.

Ryan Dempster (0-1) lasted just five innings in his Red Sox debut. The right- hander struck out eight, but allowed three runs on five hits and four walks to take the loss.

"I got outpitched by the guy on the other side of the field," Dempster said. "That's the way it goes sometimes."

Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-4 with an RBI and scored Boston's first run on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s two-out double in the seventh inning.

On Friday, Farrell will rely on left-hander Felix Doubront, who was 11-10 last season with a 4.86 ERA. He only pitched 13 innings this spring, but was 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA.

Doubront had some success at Rogers Centre a year ago, as he posted a 1-0 mark with a 3.18 ERA and 13 strikeouts in two starts.

Toronto, meanwhile, got off the schneid and picked up its first win on Thursday, as six different players connected for seven home runs in the Blue Jays rolled past the Cleveland Indians, 10-8.

J.P. Arencibia went 3-for-4 with two home runs, Edwin Encarnacion hit a three- run shot, while Jose Bautista clubbed a two-run blast and Colby Rasmus added a solo shot.

"I think everyone has an idea was this offense is capable of," said Arencibia. "Two games don't make your season and no one's worried here. Everyone knows what we have in this clubhouse."

Toronto starter Mark Buehrle gave up six runs on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Steve Delabar (1-0) got the final two outs of the top of the sixth to pick up the win, while Casey Janssen pitched a flawless ninth to earn the save.

The Blue Jays will get a look at one of their newest acquisitions on Friday when righty Josh Johnson takes the hill. Johnson was on his way to becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball, but has been derailed by injuries.

Last season, the two-time All-Star endured his worst year as a pro, going 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA.

"Josh Johnson, arguably, over the last few years was the most sought out pitcher out there," Toronto manager John Gibbons said.

Toronto was 11-7 last season versus the Red Sox.