May 21, 2018
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Jays use home runs, Happ to beat Red Sox

Fred Thornhill | Reuters
Fred Thornhill | Reuters
Boston Red Sox's Pedro Ciriaco (right) is out at home plate as Toronto Blue Jays' catcher J.P. Arencibia blocks home plate with the tag during the third inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto on Saturday.
By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

TORONTO — J. A. Happ carried his good spring training over into the season on Saturday, holding the Boston Red Sox to one hit in 5 1/3 innings.

Home runs by J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus provided all the scoring as the Toronto Blue Jays earned a 5-0 victory before a crowd of 45,797 at Rogers Centre.

The two home runs by the Blue Jays (2-3) equaled the total number of hits by the Red Sox (3-2).

“Our pitching was great,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “Homers win and pitching wins.”

The Red Sox lost starter John Lackey (0-1) in the fifth inning because of a right biceps strain. It was his first start since 2011 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

“It felt like a pretty good cramp,” Lackey said. “It’s all in the biceps, it wasn’t the elbow. Pretty frustrating. A little scary when it happened, for sure.”

The only Red Sox hits were a double by Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the game and an infield single by Dustin Pedroia with two out in the ninth against Sergio Santos.

Rasmus caught Mike Napoli’s drive at the wall in center field to end the game. The Blue Jays had eight hits.

Happ (1-0) allowed three walks while striking out six. Steve Delabar pitched 1 2/3 innings, Aaron Loup pitched the eighth and Santos pitched the ninth to shut down the Red Sox.

Happ earned the fifth spot in the rotation over left-hander Ricky Romero with a strong spring training, posting a 1.90 earned-run average, and he was trying to carry that into his first start of the season and beyond.

“I hope so,” said Happ, who struck out the side in the fourth. “That was the goal to try to carry it over. For the most part I think I did that. I tweaked a few things to try to get a little sharper. I was a little anxious today and tried to make some adjustments.”

“Happ was dynamite,” said Gibbons. “He started throwing his changeup more and that was a big pitch for him.”

Blue Jays’ first baseman Edwin Encarnacion cut down Pedro Ciriaco at home plate in the third inning on Ellsbury’s grounder into the drawn-in infield.

Ciriaco had walked with one out and reached third on a wild pitch and a throwing error by Arencibia.

Arencibia hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the fourth after Adam Lind snapped his 0-for-14 drought with a single. It was the first time this season that the Blue Jays scored first in a game.

Lackey left the game with one out in the fifth after he grabbed his arm following a pitch that sent Jose Reyes sprawling to put the count at 3-and-2.

“We called cutter away and I knew something had to be wrong,” catcher David Ross said. “He just jerked it down an in. I turned around to get a ball from the umpire and saw him grabbing his arm.

“It stinks. I think everybody is worried about him. I’ll say a prayer for him. He’s such a good teammate, first of all. And to come back and how well he was throwing the ball tonight, I was excited for him.”

Lackey will fly to Boston on Sunday to undergo an MRI.

“Once he was in the clubhouse area and iced it down, that cramping went away,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Strength tests, at least in the training room, showed to be positive in terms of full strength.”

Alfredo Aceves came in and threw ball four, with the walk charged to Lackey, who allowed five hits, one walk and two runs while striking out eight.

Rasmus’ second home run of the season was a shot to center and put Toronto into a 5-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the sixth.

“It was close for a while, until Colby’s home run gave us three and opened it up,” Gibbons said.

Lind led off with a walk and took second with his sixth career stolen base, Mark DeRosa walked before Rasmus connected on a 2-and-0 fastball.

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