BOSTON – Jo-Jo Reyes couldn’t throw strikes from the beginning. It was the wrong team to have that kind of start against.

Reyes, who walked two batters in a 37-pitch, first-inning struggle, fell behind the Red Sox after the game’s third batter, and the Blue Jays were never able to mount much of a threat against Josh Beckett as they fell to Boston 4-1 on Saturday.

“Yeah, that, and against a very patient lineup, they’re not going to chase pitches out of the zone,” Toronto Manager John Farrell said of Reyes’ control trouble. “They’re not going to expand the zone when they’re in favorable counts. That’s what they’re very good at, that’s what they’re known for.

“It was just overall command, from pitch to pitch, with Jo-Jo.”

Despite the early season struggles, it was the one thing Boston hitters have done well: They began the day third in the American League in walks.

Reyes, who walked five in four innings, was upset with his performance.

“You don’t want to have an outing like that,” he said. “It’s disappointing now. It’s over with now.

“(I’ve) just got to move on and get back to work.”

Falling behind early made it that much tougher for the Blue Jays, especially with Beckett looking like he’s regained his form from a few years ago.

“He was good. He always pitches good, every time I’ve seen him,” Blue Jays catcher Jose Molina said.

Beckett had his second straight strong start, holding Toronto to one run over seven innings, and Jed Lowrie provided a spark at the top of Boston’s lineup with a two-run homer.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Red Sox, who have the majors’ worst record at 3-10.

Travis Snider had an RBI single and stole two bases for the Blue Jays. Toronto lost for the sixth time in nine games.

Lowrie, inserted into the leadoff spot to replace struggling outfielder Carl Crawford, went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .500. He had seen limited playing time, getting 17 at-bats before the start.

Beckett (2-1), coming off a dominant outing in which he shut out the New York Yankees with 10 strikeouts over eight innings in a win last Sunday, looked sharp from the start. He used a nasty curveball along with his fastball to hold the Blue Jays to a pair of singles and a double. He struck out nine and walked two.

Beckett, a 30-year-old right-hander, is coming off an injury-plagued 2010 season when he went just 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA.

Daniel Bard gave up a hit in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs for his second save.

The Red Sox scored twice in the first inning, but it could have been more after they loaded the bases before Reyes (0-2) got an out. Lowrie opened with a single, Dustin Pedroia walked, and Adrian Gonzalez followed with an RBI single. Kevin Youkilis then doubled in a run, making it 2-0.

After David Ortiz walked to load the bases, Reyes struck out a pair and got Darnell McDonald to ground out.

Reyes gave up four runs, seven hits and struck out three while throwing 94 pitches in four innings.

The Blue Jays cut it to 2-1 on Snider’s RBI single in the second.

Boston made it 4-1 in the second when Lowrie homered into the Green Monster seats in left field after Jacoby Ellsbury was hit by a pitch.

NOTES: Crawford, off to a .137 start after signing a seven-year, $142 million contract during the offseason, was taken out of the lineup for the game. “I think it’ll do him a lot better to get a day off,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. McDonald started in left and had a single in three at-bats. … Boston 1B Gonzalez made three diving stops on hard grounders by Corey Patterson. … Farrell said after the game that RHP Brandon Morrow (sidelined with an elbow injury) will make his third and final rehab start today and “We’ll have a number of days to assess and figure out what our plan will be going forward.” … Twenty-two years ago Saturday, Kelly Gruber became the first Blue Jays player to hit for the cycle. … Fans lined the field on the warning track before the game as Red Sox players walked around and posed for pictures for about 45 minutes. … Blue Jays SS Yunel Escobar had reached safely in 11 straight games, but went 0 for 4.

 


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