Toronto (73-84) at Boston (91-65)

Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 50° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Tue Sep 29, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After failing to clinch a postseason berth in their opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox will try again with one of their most reliable pitchers heading to the mound.

Clay Buchholz(notes) will attempt to help the Red Sox clinch the AL wild card by winning his seventh straight decision Tuesday night against the visiting Blue Jays.

Josh Beckett(notes) was scratched from Monday night’s game with back spasms, and Toronto took advantage by scoring seven runs in three innings off emergency starter Michael Bowden(notes) en route to a rain-shortened 11-5 victory, which snapped an eight-game skid at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox, however, clinched at least a tie for the AL wild card as Texas fell 11-0 at Los Angeles, and need one win or one more loss by the Rangers to reach the playoffs for the sixth time in seven seasons.

“We’re in a pretty good place,” catcher Victor Martinez(notes) said. “Let’s see what happens. We have to wait and come back tomorrow and play again.”

Boston (91-65) should have a better chance to win behind Buchholz (7-3, 3.21 ERA), who will try to beat the Blue Jays for the third time in six weeks

The right-hander’s winning streak began with a 6-1 victory at Toronto on Aug. 19, and he has a 2.44 ERA over his last eight starts. He also yielded one run in 8 1-3 innings in a home victory against the Blue Jays on Aug. 29.

Buchholz enters this matchup with a 10 2-3 innings scoreless streak after shaking off a cold to scatter five hits in a 10-3 win at Kansas City on Thursday night.

“I feel good right now,” he told the Red Sox’s official Web site. “If you can go out there and throw some pitches for strikes and get some outs in big situations, all it’s going to do is help you. I feel like I’m doing a better job of that.”

Toronto (73-84) will try to delay Boston’s celebration by earning its season-high fifth straight win behind Ricky Romero(notes) (12-9, 4.28), who is struggling at the end of his rookie season.

The left-hander has dropped two straight and is 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA in his last six starts, a slide that started with the Aug. 29 loss to Buchholz. He avoided another loss Thursday night against visiting Seattle as he exited in the seventh inning with the game tied at 3.

Romero has struggled against the Red Sox more than any other team, going 0-3 with an 8.83 ERA in four starts.

He’ll try to snap that slide with help from an offense that’s outscored opponents 52-28 and batted .292 while winning six of seven. Lyle Overbay(notes) had three hits and drove in two runs in Monday’s victory, and Rob Barajas hit a three-run homer. Aaron Hill(notes) added his team-leading 35th homer as Toronto snapped a four-game road skid.

“It’s nice to get a win here, finally,” manager Cito Gaston said.

Boston, meanwhile, has been outscored 27-12 during a four-game slide while batting .202. Dustin Pedroia(notes) is in a 1-for-15 slump and Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) is 1 for 14 during the losing streak.

J.D. Drew(notes), however, has hit .455 (5 for 11) in those four games, and Kevin Youkilis(notes) is 5 for 12 (.417).

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Starting Pitchers

R. Romero Tor vs. C. Buchholz Bos
13-9 Record 7-4
4.30 ERA 4.21
141 K 68
79 BB 36
1.52 WHIP 1.38


Tuesday, Sep 29