TORONTO – Nick Punto gave the Boston Red Sox the kind of production they have come to expect from Dustin Pedroia.

Punto homered and fell a triple shy of the cycle Saturday, Felix Doubront won for the fifth time in six starts, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-4.

“We’re playing good baseball and for me to get in there and contribute a little bit felt great,” said Punto, who has been filling in while Pedroia recovers from a torn muscle in his right thumb.

“I’ve been telling him ‘You’d better hurry up or I’m going to get you,’ ” Punto said. “We have a good time.”

Punto had three hits and drove in two runs to lead Boston to its 10th win in 14 games. Daniel Nava also had two RBI as the Red Sox (28-25) moved a season-high three games above .500.

Manager Bobby Valentine called Punto’s performance “absolutely super.”


“His timing at the plate was great today and it was really needed,” Valentine said.

Punto’s teammates gave him the silent treatment when he returned to the dugout after his first homer of the season, a drive into the second deck in right in the ninth. Valentine cracked up first, rising to his feet with a broad smile to give Punto an exaggerated high-five.

“It was fun,” Punto said. “I said ‘Come give me some love. I’ve been playing this game a while but that’s only my 15th home run, so come give me some love.’ “

Doubront (6-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and seven hits in 61/3 innings, improving to 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA in his last five starts. Doubront walked one, struck out seven and matched a career high by allowing two home runs.

“Today he showed he’s a good pitcher because he was able to win the game without having his best stuff,” Valentine said.

Doubront, who matched his longest start of the season, has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last five outings.


Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia called him a “bulldog.”

“Every start he’s been solid,” Saltalamacchia said. “It’s the same thing every time. He doesn’t trick anybody, he just has great stuff and command.”

Valentine said Doubront still has room to improve.

“He’s done great,” Valentine said. “I think he’s going to learn more about this league, and learn more about himself and continue to improve. He’s got a dynamite fastball.”

Jose Bautista and Jeff Mathis hit solo home runs for the Blue Jays, who have lost 7 of 10 and fell to last in the AL East. Eight of the last 10 runs scored by Toronto, dating to Wednesday’s win over Baltimore, have come on solo homers.

Matt Albers got two outs in relief. Andrew Miller retired the only batter he faced, Vicente Padilla worked two-thirds of an inning, and Alfredo Aceves finished in the ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances.


The Red Sox jumped on Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek with a four-run, two-out rally in the second. Will Middlebrooks hit an RBI single, Punto doubled home a run, and two runs scored when Nava’s single dropped in front of center fielder Colby Rasmus, who appeared to misjudge the ball.

“It had topspin and it came back on him,” Blue Jays Manager John Farrell said. “It definitely had some movement back to his glove side.”

Mathis answered for Toronto in the third with a solo homer that bounced off the top of the right-field wall, his third, but the Red Sox made it 5-1 in the fourth when Kevin Youkilis doubled, took third on Bautista’s throwing error and scored on Middlebrooks’ double-play grounder.


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