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Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Picket fence attack lifts Sox over Jays

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The Red Sox put up four one-run innings to start the game, then rested on their laurels as Clay Buchholz and the bullpen held on for the win.

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox didn't score big, but they scored often early on in Saturday night's game, establishing their lead with a picket fence offense and holding on late for a 4-3 victory.

While the first half of the game largely belonged to the Red Sox, it was the Jays who would get on the board first. Taking the mound for Boston was Clay Buchholz, coming off his second complete game shutout of the year. Given the disaster performances that had followed his first shutout, when Buchholz proceeded to allow three straight two-out baserunners culminating in an RBI double from Edwin Encarnacion, Red Sox fans had plenty of reason to fear a return to terrible form from the resurgent starter.

Buchholz would dispel those fears in a hurry. After giving up a leadoff single in the second, Buchholz struck out the next two batters, earning a ground out to end the frame. That started a streak of twelve straight outs from the Toronto Blue Jays, who did not put another man on base until the sixth.

By that point, the Red Sox lineup had more than made up for Buchholz' early stumble. Mookie Betts ensured the first inning would end on even terms by leading off the bottom half with a triple to center, scoring on a Dustin Pedroia ground out. In the second, it was a trio of singles from Mike Napoli, Allen Craig, and Will Middlebrooks bringing Boston's second run in to score. The third run came in the third, with Yoenis Cespedes doubling to the wall in right field, bringing David Ortiz in all the way from first as Jose Bautista first let the ball get by him, then did a poor job of getting the ball back to the infield. And, finally, the fourth inning brought a fourth run, with Will Middlebrooks walking and Christian Vazquez doubling him home off the Monster.

The picket fence attack had Boston ahead 4-1--a strong early lead, but with no further support coming from the offense for the rest of the game, one that was ultimately stretched to the limit. Buchholz' streak of consecutive outs came to an end with a leadoff double from Jose Bautista, followed immediately by a walk from Edwin Encarnacion. Buchholz would manage to escape the situation with a double play, but after hitting Danny Valencia with a pitch, was given only one last at bat (a pop-up from Kevin Pillar) before being removed for Craig Breslow. With his fourth and final pitch of the game, Breslow hung a changeup to pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus, and saw it taken deep to right field for a two-run shot, cutting Boston's lead to just the one run.

That would not be the end to the drama for the Red Sox, who saw Burke Badenhop and Drake Britton allow a pair of singles in the eighth, with Britton combining with Edward Mujica in the ninth to allow a pair of walks. Neither threat would pan out for Toronto, however, with all four runners stranded without reaching third. The strong three-run lead had fallen all the way down to one, but after nine innings, that one run is all that matters.