By TIM WHARNSBY, Associated Press
TORONTO (AP) — Alek Manoah struck out seven and pitched three-hit ball over seven innings, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 1-0 Thursday.
The 24-year-old Manoah (4-0) walked only one batter as the Blue Jays took three of four from their AL East rival.
"They're an aggressive team," Manoah said. "I was trying to make pitches that looked like strikes."
Manoah, in his second season, won his eighth in a row dating to last year. The Blue Jays have gone 20-4 in his 24 career starts.
"He was really good," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He had a really good four-seamer and a really good slider. We had some good at-bats, too. We hit the ball hard. But in the end, you have to score some runs to win."
The Blue Jays' lone run was unearned off starter Garrett Whitlock (1-1) in the third inning. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. reached on a one-out error to Red Sox shortstop Christian Arroyo, moved to second after a walk to Raimel Tapia and scored on Alejandro Kirk's two-out single.
After yielding a one-out single to Alex Verdugo in the first inning, Manoah retired 12 batters in a row before Arroyo's single in the fifth.
A leadoff double down the right-field line from Kiké Hernandez was snuffed out in the seventh inning. After a ground out from Jackie Bradley Jr., Manoah got Arroyo on a lineout to shortstop and Bobby Dalbec to foul out near the Red Sox dugout.
"I was talking with (Blue Jays center fielder) George (Springer) after the game," Manoah said. "He said, ,'There's going to be a lot of these games we need to find a way to piece them together.' To persevere is only going to help us down the road."
Adam Cimber took over for Manoah with a 1-2-3 eighth, and Toronto closer Jordan Romano finished off Boston in the ninth for his ninth save.
Whitlock allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two over three innings, throwing 61 pitches in his second career start.
The Red Sox have gone six games without a homer since Rafael Devers' solo shot in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 22.
"It's like that around the league," Cora said. "The homers will come. We're starting to hit the ball hard."
Xander Bogaerts, the MLB hits leader with 29, did not start after his four-hit game on Wednesday. Instead, he pinch-hit but meekly grounded out to Cimber in the eighth.
Kirk went 2 for 4 in the matinee to extend his streak without a strikeout to 41 consecutive at-bats, the longest active streak in MLB. The catcher has 13 hits, eight walks and only four strikeouts in 17 games.
Red Sox: J.D. Martinez did not play. He aggravated a left adductor ailment on Wednesday. Manager Alex Cora expects Martinez to return at some point on the weekend. Cora said LHP Chris Sale (60 day IL, rib) threw seven pitches in a bullpen session in Fort Myers on Tuesday.
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. missed his first game of the season with a sore right foot. He fouled a pitch off his foot in Wednesday's game, but an X-ray taken was negative.
Red Sox LHP Rich Hill (0-1, 4.85 ERA) faces the Orioles (starter TBD) in series opener in Baltimore on Friday.
Blue Jays LHP Yusei Kikuchi (0-1, 3.75 ERA) faces Astros RHP Jose Urquidy (1-1, 5.52 ERA) in Friday's series opener at Rogers Centre.
for more features.