BOSTON — The short-handed Toronto Blue Jays roared to their fifth straight win, riding Mark Buehrle’s first win in 10 starts to a 6-1 pasting of the slumbering Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
In completing a sweep of the three-game series and winning their sixth straight over Boston in just over a week, the Jays improved to 5-2 on a trip that concludes with four games against the lowly Astros in Houston.
Remember, John Gibbons’ Toronto team is without first baseman and MVP candidate Edwin Encarnacion, third baseman Brett Lawrie and designated hitter-first baseman Adam Lind, all recovering from injuries.
Buehrle, the veteran left-hander who started the season 10-1, worked the first 6 2/3 innings for his first win since June 1. He had gone 0-6 with a 4.83 ERA and a .312 opponents batting average in his previous nine starts. He raised his record to 11-7 with his fourth win in his last five starts against the Red Sox.
Catcher Dioner Navarro had three RBI singles and designated hitter Juan Francisco drove in two runs for the Jays, who outscored the Red Sox 45-11 during the six-game run — all after losing 14-1 to Boston last Monday night.
Right-hander Brandon Workman, recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket as the Red Sox contemplate trading free agent-to-be Jon Lester, gave up five runs, three of the unearned with the help of his own error, in five innings and dropped to 1-4.Lester and fellow starter John Lackey were both centers of trade rumors with the non-waiver deadline at 4 p.m. Thursday. There were chants of “Jon-ny Les-ter” and “We want Les-ter” from the crowd in the ninth inning.
The Red Sox have lost eight of their last nine to fall to 12 games below .500 — matching the season low for the defending World Series champions.
Boston went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, falling to 3-for-36 in that important category during the last five games — 8-for-59 over the eight losses in nine games.
Third baseman Xander Bogaerts, who had an error in the fifth inning, had two doubles for Boston.
Workman went to 3-2 counts on the first four hitters of the game, walking the first two, then striking out first baseman Jose Bautista before Navarro singled home a run. With runners at first and third and one out, Francisco hit a slow bouncer toward first base. Brock Holt gloved the ball but hesitated slightly before throwing home. Melky Cabrera slid home just ahead of the tag.
It took 36 pitches for Workman to escape the first inning, but he settled down after that until the fifth, when the Jays scored three unearned runs.
Workman issued his fourth walk, eclipsing his season high, and this one, like the first two, led to a run. Right fielder Anthony Gose walked, stole second and shortstop Jose Reyes sacrificed — Workman throwing the ball away to allow the unearned run to score.
Bogaerts made an error on the next play, and Navarro made it 4-0 with his second RBI single. Francisco’s infield chop hit got another run home, and only a fine running catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. prevented more damage.
Doubles by Bogaerts and rookie catcher Christian Vazquez got the home team on the board in the bottom of the inning.
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Notes: With trade winds blowing around LHP Jon Lester and RHP John Lackey, the Red Sox shipped struggling LHP Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named. Doubront’s exit opened a roster spot for RHP Brandon Workman, recalled to start Wednesday night’s game. Lackey and Lester were still listed as the Boston starters for Friday and Sunday, respectively, against the New York Yankees. ... RHP Drew Hutchison starts for the Blue Jays tonight in the opener of a four-game series at Houston. ... Toronto starters came into Wednesday night’s game with 44 wins this season — 18 more than the starting staff had last year at the same point. In 2013, the Jays’ starters didn’t get to 44 wins until game No. 154. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli, who missed Tuesday’s game with continued swelling in his injured left ring finger, was the designated hitter Wednesday with David Ortiz sitting out.