Toronto (64-58) at Boston (70-54)

Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA, US
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Aug 22, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Blue Jays still haven’t found a way to take a series from the Boston Red Sox this season. In order to change that Sunday, they’ll have to go through the AL’s ERA leader.

Clay Buchholz(notes) looks to win his fifth consecutive decision and vault the Red Sox to a fifth straight series victory over Toronto in the decisive game of this three-game set at Fenway Park.

The Blue Jays (64-58) sent Boston to its most lopsided loss of the season Friday night, but the Red Sox rebounded from the 16-2 defeat with a 5-4, 11-inning win Saturday night.

Jed Lowrie’s(notes) walk-off home run gave Boston (70-54) its 10th win in 14 meetings with Toronto, helping the banged-up Red Sox remain within 5 1/2 games of Tampa Bay in the wild-card chase.

“A walk-off can certainly get us on a roll,” reliever Daniel Bard(notes) said.

Boston is trying to come from behind for its fourth consecutive playoff berth even though injured starters Dustin Pedroia(notes), Kevin Youkilis(notes), Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) and Mike Cameron(notes) all may be done for the season.

Marco Scutaro(notes) and Victor Martinez(notes) each had three hits Saturday to help compensate. Lowrie didn’t start, but the primary replacement at second base for Pedroia still homered for the third time in his last five games, setting a new career high for a season.

“The last pitch looked like a hanging breaking ball,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “That’ll get you beat sometimes.”

The Blue Jays were beaten badly Aug. 11, when Buchholz (14-5, 2.36 ERA) and Toronto’s Shaun Marcum(notes) squared off in a matchup that will be staged again Sunday.

While Buchholz limited the Blue Jays to one unearned run in eight innings, the Red Sox hit four home runs in four-plus innings against Marcum, who allowed eight runs in a 10-1 defeat.

Marcum (11-6, 3.69) looked like a different pitcher Monday against Oakland, pitching a one-hitter in a 3-1 win. A seventh-inning homer by Conor Jackson(notes) was the only hit allowed by the right-hander, who notched his first career complete game.

“It’s always nice to see a guy bounce back,” Gaston said. “Great performance, just what we needed. He was just outstanding.”

Marcum is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in six career appearances - four starts - at Fenway Park, and it may take another stellar outing to keep up with Buchholz.

Boston’s emerging right-hander has gone 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last five starts, shutting down the Angels for seven innings in a 6-0 win Tuesday even though he said he didn’t have his best command.

“Sometimes you won’t have your good stuff and you have to battle and find your way through it,” Buchholz told the Red Sox’s official website. “I think that’s the name of the game. That’s what pitchers are called pitchers for.”

Toronto has rarely managed to solve Buchholz, who has held the Blue Jays to one run five of the last six times he’s faced them. He’s 5-1 with a 2.41 ERA in that stretch.

Buchholz, however, may want to be careful with the red-hot Lyle Overbay(notes), who has gone 5 for 7 with three homers and nine RBIs in this series. His game-tying two-run homer Saturday was Toronto’s 188th this season, easily the most in the majors.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Marcum CLE vs. C. Buchholz BOS
13-8 Record 17-7
3.64 ERA 2.33
165 K 120
43 BB 67
1.15 WHIP 1.20


Sunday, Aug 22