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Red Sox-Blue Jays Preview

AP - Sports

The Boston Red Sox's early season woes continued Sunday as they blew a pair of leads during an extra-inning loss. After that experience, the Red Sox probably aren't too keen on facing a feisty Toronto club that nearly pulled off three consecutive comebacks.

The Blue Jays will try to build on a successful opening series when they welcome the winless Boston Red Sox for Monday night's opener of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.

Boston (0-3) had a combined two runs and 12 hits during its first two losses in Detroit but produced 18 hits in Sunday's finale, including three each from Nick Punto, David Ortiz and Mike Aviles. Punto and Aviles also drove in three runs apiece.

That wasn't enough, however, to get the Red Sox and new manager Bobby Valentine in the win column for the first time this season. They blew a three-run lead in the ninth as Miguel Cabrera homered and a two-run advantage in the 11th when Alex Avila's long ball delivered a 13-12 defeat.

Boston, which lost its first six games last season, has started 0-3 or worse in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1931-33.

"This is a work in progress," Valentine said. "We're three days in after losing our closer (Andrew Bailey), and we're still trying to figure it out."

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, nearly matched their 3-0 start from 1996 but their rally from a two-run deficit fell short in a 4-3 defeat in Cleveland on Sunday. Toronto had the bases loaded with two outs in the ninth, but Jose Bautista popped out to short to end the game.

"Anytime you have Jose Bautista at the plate with the tying run on third, we'll sign up for that opportunity each and every game," manager John Farrell said. "We chipped away and battled back to be one swing away."

The Blue Jays (2-1) erased a three-run deficit in the ninth inning Thursday and scored three more times in the 16th for a 7-4 victory during the longest opening day game in major league history. They came back from two runs down Saturday for another 7-4 win, this time in 12 innings.

"Ideally, you'd like to win all three," Bautista said. "We'll take two, but we feel like we should have won all three games."

To help build on that solid start, Toronto will look to 21-year-old Henderson Alvarez, who made a quick rise through the team's farm system last season. The right-hander started 2011 at Class-A Dunedin (Fla.) and reached the majors for the first time Aug. 9.

He was 1-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 10 starts for the Blue Jays and pitched six scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Sept. 5 during a 1-0 home win in 11. Alvarez finished with 40 strikeouts and eight walks over 63 2-3 innings.

Boston will also turn to a young starter in this game, 24-year-old Felix Doubront. The left-hander will make his fourth career start and first since July 16, 2010. He had a 6.10 ERA over 11 relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2011, including three against Toronto.

Doubront has never started against the Blue Jays.

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