TORONTO (AP)—Paul Byrd learned a lot about survival and improvisation as a Cub Scout leader for Colby, his 10-year-old son. Those skills came in handy Friday night.
Facing Toronto for the third consecutive start, Byrd (8-11) needed all his improvisational ability on a night when he didn’t have his best stuff.
“I’m just glad we won the game,” Byrd said. “I didn’t pitch my greatest. It was six innings of survival. It was like Boy Scouts, just making do with what I had.”
The right-hander allowed four runs and six hits in six innings, walked two and struck out four.
Byrd beat the Blue Jays on Aug. 9 while pitching for Cleveland, then lost to Toronto last Saturday in his first start with the Red Sox, a game in which he also gave up a two-run, first-inning homer to Rios.
Byrd will be happy to see a different opponent, likely the Yankees or White Sox, when he pitches next.
“I’m looking forward to facing somebody other than Joe Inglett leading off the game,” Byrd said. “I’ll be excited that maybe Lyle Overbay won’t be in the lineup and recognizes everything that comes out of my hand.”
The last pitcher to face the same team in three straight starts was San Diego’s Justin Germano, who opposed Colorado three times between May 27 and Sept. 9, 2004.
Acquired Aug. 12 for a player to be named and cash, Byrd was happy to move from the underachieving Indians to a playoff contender.
Byrd and new batterymate Varitek have quickly built a rapport in their two starts together.
“I knew he was a good catcher, but he’s a great receiver,” Byrd said. “He’s really good. He blocks the ball better than I thought he did. What he brings behind the plate, a wealth of knowledge against the hitters is great. I’ve enjoyed throwing to him. I think we’ve gelled pretty quickly.”
Varitek was more comfortable Friday than he was in Byrd’s Boston debut.
“I’m still learning him, to be honest,” Varitek said. “The first day there was a little bit of uncertainty early because I wasn’t sure how hitters react to him. You use those first three of four innings to get a bit of a read. Today, there was much more rhythm.”
Pedroia went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and has hit safely in 46 of his past 50 games.
Alex Rios and Overbay hit two-run homers for the Blue Jays, who lost for the third time in their past 13 games against the Red Sox.
Boston won for the 10th time in 14 road games and snapped a club-record six-game losing streak in Toronto. They beat the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre for the first time since completing a three-game sweep on May 10, 2007.
“We scored early and we stayed at it,” manager Terry Francona said. “We’ve had nights like this where we’ve come in here and I’m explaining why we lost or how we lost. We found a way to turn it around tonight and have a good win.”
Pedroia’s 13th homer gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the first, but Rios hit his 10th in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 lead.
The Red Sox restored their lead and chased right-hander Shaun Marcum with a four-run fourth. Jason Bay singled and Jed Lowrie and Varitek both walked, loading the bases for Alex Cora, who drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch. Coco Crisp hit an RBI single, Jacoby Ellsbury’s grounder scored a run and Pedroia ended Marcum’s night with a sacrifice fly.
Overbay’s two-run shot, his 10th, cut it to 5-4 in the bottom half, but Varitek opened the sixth with his 11th homer, giving Boston a two-run lead.
Ellsbury and Pedroia capped the scoring with RBI singles off right-hander Shawn Camp in the eighth.
Marcum (8-6) lost for the first time in five starts, allowing five runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Boston OF J.D. Drew (herniated disk) was scratched from the lineup, but is hoping to avoid a trip to the DL. He underwent an MRI on Friday, but the results have not yet been released. … Boston recalled RHP Chris Smith from Triple-A Pawtucket and signed C David Ross, assigning him to Pawtucket. … Toronto put OF Brad Wilkerson (back spasms) on the 15-day DL and added INF/OF Jose Bautista, who was acquired from Pittsburgh Thursday for a player to be named. … Bay played in his native Canada for the first time since reaching the majors in 2003. … Boston is 3-13 on artificial turf this season.