TORONTO – Try as they might, the struggling Toronto Blue Jays just can’t seem to build any momentum.
Facing the hottest pitcher in baseball didn’t help.
Clay Buchholz pitched seven shutout innings Wednesday night to earn his major league-leading sixth win, Mike Napoli hit two of Boston’s five home runs and the Boston Red Sox routed the Blue Jays, 10-1.
“Buchholz just never gave us anything,” Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said.
After rallying to beat Boston 9-7 in Tuesday night’s series opener, the last-place Blue Jays couldn’t follow up, opening May with their seventh loss in nine games. Toronto has won consecutive games just once this year, April 12-13 at Kansas City.
“We keep saying it’s early but it’s going to be late before too long,” Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle said.
Toronto didn’t get a runner past first until Adam Lind walked and went to third on Melky Cabrera’s single in the seventh. But Cabrera was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double before J.P. Arencibia struck out to end the inning.
“When you’re able to command both sides of the plate, and cut it and sink it on both sides of the plate — that’s why he’s been doing as (well) as he’s been doing,” Arencibia said of Buchholz.
Buehrle (1-2) surrendered three home runs for the second straight start and has allowed nine home runs in six starts. He gave up five runs and seven hits in 62/3 innings, walking a season-high three and striking out one.
“The home run ball bit him no doubt, but it’s a home run hitting park,” Gibbons said. “The whole division is like that.”
Stephen Drew hit a two-run shot in the second inning and Napoli went back-to-back with Daniel Nava in the fourth as the Red Sox won their majors-best 19th game and improved to 8-3 away from home, the best road record in the big leagues.
The Red Sox have hit 16 home runs in five games at Rogers Centre this season. That’s one more than they’ve hit in their other 22 games combined.
“When the roof is closed and it’s warm in here, the ball definitely flies,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said.
Napoli hit a solo shot into the second deck in center in the fourth and followed with a three-run shot into the third deck in the seventh. Napoli, who also doubled in the ninth, has six homers and leads the majors with 21 extra-base hits.
“Impressive, to say the least,” Farrell said.
Buchholz (6-0) allowed two hits, walked three and struck out eight, improving to 7-0 in his past eight starts at Toronto. He lowered his ERA to an AL-best 1.01. Only Jake Westbrook of St. Louis (0.98) is better.
“I felt really good with everything today,” Buchholz said.
Buchholz, off to the best beginning to a season by a Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett opened 7-0 in his first seven starts of 2007, said his curveball was the best it’s been.
“Today it definitely had a little bit more bite to it; it was a little bit more sharp,” Buchholz said.
But Boston catcher David Ross thought the two-seam fastball was Buchholz’s best pitch.
“A lot of those guys knew what was coming and still couldn’t hit it,” Ross said.
Alex Wilson got two outs in the eighth and Clayton Mortensen worked the final 11/3 innings for Boston.
Three of Boston’s first five outs were fly balls to the warning track. After Middlebrooks was hit by a pitch in the second, Drew made sure he cleared the wall by homering into the second deck in right, his first.