TORONTO — Daniel Bard the starter isn’t acting or pitching like Daniel Bard the reliever, and the results aren’t pretty.
Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer, rookie Drew Hutchison won for the fourth time in five starts and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Bard and the Boston Red Sox 5-1 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Blue Jays took advantage of an erratic performance by Bard (5-6), who allowed five runs, walked six, struck out two and hit two batters in 1 2-3 innings, his shortest career start.
“Daniel just couldn’t find it, obviously,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “He was hoping he was going to find a pitch or find a release point that would work for him.”
In an ill-tempered game that featured four hit batters, home plate umpire Mike Winters warned both benches after Boston’s Kevin Youkilis was drilled on the shoulder in the sixth. Youkilis stepped in front of the plate and yelled at Hutchison, but the situation did not escalate.
Youkilis did not speak to reporters following the game, but his manager denied talk of retaliation or bad blood.
“I didn’t think any of them were intentional,” Valentine said.
Still, even Valentine felt the need to go to his bullpen in the second inning after Bard hit two batters in three at-bats.
“The last thing I wanted to do was see anybody get hurt,” Valentine said.
Toronto designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, one of two Blue Jays to be hit on the hand in the second, stayed in the game to run but did not bat again when his turn came up in the fifth. He was replaced by Jeff Mathis.
X-rays on Encarnacion’s hand were negative. He was listed as day-to-day with a bruise.
Bard, who has lost four straight decisions to Toronto, acknowledged that he’s not the same pitcher as a starter as he was as a reliever the past three years, saying he’s “constantly trying to tweak little things in (my) delivery to make the next pitch a little better than the last.”
“The ability to repeat just isn’t there like it has been in the past,” Bard said. “If anything, it’s that I allowed something to happen when I switched roles. Maybe we just tried to turn me into a starter rather than just take the same pitcher I was out there and move that guy to the rotation, which is probably what should have been done.”
Bard walked the first two batters of the game before Bautista hit a homer off the facing of the second deck in left, his 14th of the season and second in two days.
Bautista’s three-run drive snapped a streak of eight consecutive solo shots by Blue Jays batters.
Encarnacion followed with a four-pitch walk but Bard got David Cooper to ground into a double play, then got Brett Lawrie to fly out to center.
Things weren’t much better for Bard in the second, which began with back-to-back walks followed by consecutive strikeouts. Yunel Escobar was hit on the hand to load the bases for Bautista, who drove in a run with a walk. That brought up Encarnacion, who drove in a run the painful way and was left yelping after being hit on the left hand.
That was all for Bard, with Franklin Morales coming on and ending the inning by getting Cooper to foul out to third.
Bautista’s homer was the only hit allowed by Bard, who came in having won three of his previous four starts. Just 24 of his 55 pitches were for strikes, and his ERA rose from 4.56 to 5.24.
“The first couple of innings was tough,” Valentine said, adding that he’ll consider how to proceed with Bard during Monday’s off day.
“I have some time,” Valentine said. “Regretfully, it’s going to have to take up an off day, but I’ll think about it a while.”
For his part, Bard suggested stripping things down and starting fresh.
“I think we’ve tried to change a few too many things,” he said. “Maybe just get back to being simple.”
Unlike Bard, Hutchison (5-2) was sharp and efficient, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings, matching his career-high. He walked one and struck out five.
“Hutch continues to mature right in front of us,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “He kept going, kept putting up zeros, kept the momentum on our side.”
Kelly Shoppach provided the only Boston run, hitting a two-out homer to center in the fifth, his third.
Darren Oliver got two outs in the eighth and Francisco Cordero got the third before Casey Janssen finished in the ninth for Toronto.
NOTES: Bard’s career-high in walks is seven, set April 16 against Tampa Bay. The only run Bard allowed in 6 2-3 innings that day was on a bases loaded walk to Evan Longoria. … Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia (right thumb) reported no pain from his batting practice session Saturday. Pedroia is expected to hit again Monday, an off-day for Boston. … Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow, who left Wednesday’s start after being hit on the right shin by a batted ball, threw his scheduled bullpen session Sunday and remains on track to make his next start, Wednesday at Chicago against the White Sox.