BOSTON – Aaron Laffey sure made the most of his first major league start for nearly two years.
Laffey tossed six scoreless innings, but the Toronto Blue Jays lost 5-1 to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.
"He did everything that he was projected or could have been asked of him tonight," Toronto manager John Farrell said.
Laffey allowed three hits, struck out two and walked two in his first start since he pitched five solid innings for Cleveland in a 10-4 victory at Minnesota on July 19, 2010.
The right-hander made 47 relief appearances with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees last season before making 11 starts for Toronto's Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas this year. He had nine major league innings under his belt entering Tuesday.
"I was able to go (to Las Vegas) and work on the things that I had to do and just waiting for that opportunity to get into the rotation," Laffey said. "Just coming up, helping the team out in the bullpen, I always have done whatever the team needed me to do.
"But getting this opportunity is definitely something I have been waiting on for a couple of years now."
Laffey retired 12 straight batters after allowing a leadoff single to Mike Aviles in the first. He wiggled his way out of a jam in the fifth, stranding two, and was helped in the sixth by left fielder Rajai Davis, who threw out Dustin Pedroia at the plate to protect a 1-0 lead.
On a strict count, he exited after 82 pitches.
"You always want to go back out, especially when you're putting up zeros," Laffey said. "Just make them take the ball out of your hand. You never want to give it up."
The Red Sox rallied with two down in the seventh.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia's line drive to left off Jason Frasor just cleared the Green Monster for his 14th homer, tying it at 1. The Red Sox then loaded the bases on a double, a hit batter and a walk before Dustin Pedroia drove in two with a single up the middle.
Adrian Gonzalez added an RBI double in the eighth after David Ortiz reached on his second double of the game. Will Middlebrooks put the Red Sox up 5-1 with a sacrifice fly later in the inning.
Andrew Miller (2-0) recorded an out in the seventh to pick up the win. Vicente Padilla pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two and setting up Alfredo Aceves for a 1-2-3 ninth.
After Saltalamacchia went deep, pinch-hitter Ryan Kalish doubled to right against Luis Perez (2-2). David Pauley came out of the bullpen and hit Daniel Nava with a pitch. Pauley then walked Mike Aviles to load the bases and Pedroia's hit made it 3-1.
Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka went 5 2-3 innings, allowing five hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Brett Lawrie led off the game with a double to center and scored on a two-out single by Edwin Encarnacion, putting Toronto ahead 1-0.
Pedroia walked with one out in the sixth and tried to scamper home on Ortiz's double off the Green Monster, but Rajai Davis recovered after misplaying the hop and threw a straight shot to catcher Jeff Mathis in time for the tag.
NOTES: The series is tied 1-1 and concludes with an afternoon game Wednesday. Boston's Jon Lester (4-5) is scheduled to face Ricky Romero (8-1). ... The Red Sox announced RHP Clay Buchholz experienced erosion of his esophagus, and the condition caused internal bleeding. The team says he is doing well and is expected to make a complete recovery. ... Laffey's previous start was July 19, 2010. ... Davis led off the second with a single, but Matsuzaka picked him off first.