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Strong outing by Hutchison helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox

The SportsXchange

TORONTO - Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison has found his release point and has been pitching like an experienced major-leaguer instead of a 21-year-old.

Boston's Daniel Bard could not find his release point and threw like he didn't know where the ball was going.

That was the difference as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Sunday at Rogers Centre.

Hutchison pitched seven strong innings and Jose Bautista drove in four runs in front of an announced crowd of 41,925 at Rogers Centre, and the Blue Jays (28-26) salvaged one victory from the three-game series. They pulled even with the Red Sox (28-26) at the bottom of the American League East.

"Once again I was able to find my arm slot and got in a good rhythm out there," said Hutchison who pitched seven innings for the second start in row.

Bautista hit a three-run homer in the first inning and walked with the bases loaded in the second, one of six walks by Bard, who also hit two batters.

"Daniel just couldn't find it, obviously," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I was hoping he was going to find a pitch or a release point that would work for him."

Hutchison (5-2) held the Red Sox to five hits, one walk and one run while striking out five. He also hit two batters. The run he allowed came on a home run by Kelly Shoppach.

"Hutch continues to mature right in front of us," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He kept going, kept putting up zeroes, kept the momentum on our side."

Bard (5-6) hit the Blue Jays more than they hit him and he allowed five runs in a messy 1 2/3 innings.

"That's the difference when you're feeling good about your delivery versus when you're not," Bard said. "If you miss with a pitch and you're feeling good, you say [OK] and you do everything the exact same and trust that it will go where it's supposed to go. When you're kind of searching for it, you try to tweak something, change something....and that's where I got caught up today."

The one hit against him was Bautista's 14th homer of the season in the first inning that followed walks to Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar.

Bard's two hit batters came in the second. He walked Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia to open the inning. After two strikeouts, he hit Escobar with a pitch and walked Bautista with the bases loaded to make the score 4-0. Edwin Encarnacion was hit by a pitch to force in another run.

The crowd chanted "Throw him out" as a trainer attended to Encarnacion's hand. Bard was not thrown out, nor was there a warning, because he was so obviously wild. However, the fans got to their wish when the Red Sox replaced Bard with left-hander Franklin Morales. Bard threw only 24 strikes out of 55 pitches.

Encarnacion went to first base, but when his next turn as designated hitter came in the fifth, Jeff Mathis batted in his place.

X-rays on the back Encarnacion's right hand below the knuckles of the fourth and fifth fingers showed no break. The injury is considered a bruise.

"He was in obvious pain," Farrell said. "He tried to continue. He felt some strength come back in the hand when he was tested on the field. It was more precaution than anything else."

"The second hit batter, [Bard] couldn't throw the fastball to the outside part of the plate and they had right-handed hitters coming up," Valentine said. "The last thing I want to do is see anybody get hurt."

"They weren't intentional," Farrell said. "You fear a ball is going to get away from a guy, particularly as hard as he can throw. Two fastballs right up and in. One to Yunel that clipped him on the thumb. He felt almost a minor whiplash when he snapped his head out of the way and then when he hit the ground and was more kind collecting himself on the ground and kind of clearing his head before he went to first base."

Shoppach hit his third homer of the season with two out in the fifth to cut the lead to four runs.

Toronto's second of six hits in the game came in the fifth when David Cooper doubled off the left-field wall, but he was thrown out trying for a triple after the ball rolled away.

Kevin Youkilis was hit on the shoulder by a pitch in the sixth inning and was not happy about it.

"I was trying to go away actually," Hutchison said. "I tried to put a little extra on it and I just missed, that was it. He was clearly upset. Nobody likes getting hit. It is what it is. There's no attempt behind it."

Youkilis was the second Red Sox player hit by Hutchison. Shoppach was hit in the third when he leaned in on the plate, and he went straight to first.

"I didn't think any of them were intentional," Valentine said.

NOTES: Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald (right oblique strain) was 3-for-8 with two doubles and an RBI in a doubleheader with Class AAA Pawtucket in the fifth game of his rehabilitation assignment. ... Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow, who left last Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Orioles after being struck on the right shin by a drive from Wilson Betemit, threw a bullpen session Sunday and is the probable starter Wednesday in Chicago. ... Both the Red Sox and Blue Jays have Monday off in the schedule.
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