Jays hold off Red Sox
BOSTON >> Marco Estrada had no flashbacks to his near no-hitters last season. He didn't feel those two starts were memorable enough.
Estrada took a no-hitter into the eighth inning for the third time in a year before it was broken up by Chris Young's home run with one out, and the Toronto Blue Jays held off the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Sunday.
"No. That's last year. Last year's over with," Estrada said about flirting with a no-hitter twice last June. "This is a new year. If I would have finished a no-hitter last year maybe once in a while I'd think about it. I've never done one. This is a new year. I don't think about those things."
Jose Bautista opened the game with a home run, the first of four Toronto hit over the Green Monster. Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run shot, and Darwin Barney and Russell Martin each had a solo homer.
Estrada (4-2) walked three, struck out five and was lifted with a 5-1 lead after giving up his second hit, Dustin Pedroia's leadoff double in the ninth.
"He's a master at his craft. He's not going to light you up with that changeup, but he's a pitcher — a very good pitcher," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He's been doing that for two years. It shouldn't surprise anybody."
Roberto Osuna got the final three outs to preserve the victory — but not before giving up RBI doubles to David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. Jackie Bradley Jr. added an RBI single, but pinch-hitter Marco Hernandez struck out with two runners on to end it.
Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1) gave up five runs over 5 2/3 innings in his second start since opening the season on the disabled list with a right knee injury.
Last year, Estrada took no-hitters into the eighth in consecutive starts before they were broken up. He did it against Baltimore on June 19 and at the Tampa Bay Rays on June 24.
"He kept us off stride," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He's deceptive, stayed out of the middle of the plate."
The Red Sox haven't been held hitless at Fenway Park since Detroit's Jim Bunning did it on July 20, 1958.
The day didn't start well for Estrada, who walked his first two batters before Xander Bogaerts bunted into a force at third on an attempted sacrifice. Ortiz then lined out to center and Travis Shaw struck out swinging.
Estrada walked Ramirez leading off the second before retiring 19 straight. Young then hit a cutter into the Green Monster seats. Estrada dropped his head briefly when the ball cleared The Wall.
Mixing a fastball in the upper 80s (mph) with a good changeup and occasional slider, the 32-year-old righty kept Boston's hitters from making solid contact most of the game.
"I think he kept us off balance pretty well," Bogaerts said. "We just didn't get any hits until toward the end."
Center fielder Kevin Pillar made a nice over-the-shoulder catch on Shaw's deep drive in the fourth and right fielder Bautista made a running grab on Ramirez's liner to end the seventh.
Bautista homered into the first row of Monster seats on the fourth pitch of the game, with the ball caroming back onto the field.
In the third, Toronto hit two more long balls to increase it to 4-0. Barney homered off a light stanchion and Encarnacion hit his into the last row of seats.
Blue Jays: AL MVP Josh Donaldson was back in the lineup as the DH after missing Saturday's game with a jammed right thumb. He had a pad around it.
Red Sox: C Ryan Hanigan (neck strain) and LF/C Blake Swihart (sprained left ankle) were placed on the 15-day DL after getting hurt Saturday. The team recalled OF Rusney Castillo and RHP Heath Hembree, and selected C Sandy Leon from Triple-A Pawtucket. RHP Noe Ramirez was optioned to Triple-A. Farrell said Swihart had a "severe" sprain and would have his ankle immobilized for two weeks.
LAST FENWAY NO-NO
Jon Lester, then with Boston, pitched the most recent no-hitter at Fenway Park, against Kansas City on May 19, 2008.
Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (6-2, 3.06 ERA) is slated to start the opener of a three-game series in Detroit on Monday. He's allowed just one run in each of his last two starts — both against the Yankees.
Red Sox: After an off day Monday, RHP Rick Porcello (7-2, 4.00) is lined up to start the first of a two-game interleague series at San Francisco. He's had two straight no-decisions, giving up nine total runs in 12 1/3 innings.
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