Despite a fourth inning jam, which he eventually escaped unscathed, Sanchez was on his game Friday night as he tossed seven-plus scoreless innings in the Blue Jays' 7-0 win over their division rivals.
"I had a better feel for everything more so than I did in Boston (a 6-5 loss on April 27)," said Sanchez. "I attacked the hitters, I think that's been the same game plan every time out, but I just executed on a lot more pitches tonight than I did there."
Sanchez (3-2), who hadn't pitched into the seventh in any of his previous six starts this season, allowed just two hits while striking out three and walking five.
His only trouble came in the fourth when the 22-year-old issued back-to-back walks before hitting Allen Craig with a pitch. But Sanchez struck out Blake Swihart before Xander Bogaerts grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"That's what he's capable of… he tires out a little bit, but things are coming together for him," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "He was strong the whole night. He worked himself into a tough little jam there, but he got out of it."
Sanchez started the eighth inning but left the game after walking Travis Shaw and giving up a single to Mookie Betts. Aaron Loup pitched the rest of the scoreless frame and Steve Delabar kept Boston off the board in the ninth.
The win was the 3,000th in Blue Jays (15-15) history. Boston (13-16) has now lost six of seven while being outscored 32-15.
Josh Donaldson and Chris Colabello had solo home runs to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead after two. Colabello is now 7-for-11 with four runs scored and three RBIs in three games with Toronto.
"The way we're going right now, offensively, two runs seems like a big gap, to be honest with you," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think we all share in the frustrations. We're all part of this. We have to remain positive, supportive, continue to work and prepare as we've done."
Toronto got to Boston starter Wade Miley again in the sixth.
After Edwin Encarnacion walked and Russell Martin reached on a bloop single, Danny Valencia singled to centre to score Encarnacion from second. Kevin Pillar's sacrifice fly to right scored Martin from third, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead.
Friday was Valencia's first game back after missing two games with a sprained ankle. He was replaced by Ezequiel Carrera to start the seventh after he slid awkwardly into second base trying to advance on Pillar's sac fly.
Gibbons said Valencia "jarred his ankle" on the slide.
Miley (1-4) went six innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits while striking out eight.
"It's always difficult when you go through a stretch like this," said Miley. "It's on us to get out of it. Obviously this lineup is going to hit. We're capable of just getting ridiculous. Right now it's a little slow but, like I said, this lineup is going to hit."
Jose Bautista led off the eighth inning with a triple off the top of the wall in centre field. It was Bautista's first triple since Aug. 21, 2011 in Oakland. He scored on Encarnacion's single to give Toronto a 5-0 lead.
After Martin doubled down the third-base line, Carrera's single to left scored both Encarnacion and Martin for the seven-run lead.
Notes: Blue Jays OF Michael Saunders of Victoria, who has not played since May 3 in Cleveland due to inflammation in his left knee, was eligible to come off the bench and is expected to start Saturday. … Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who was suspended for one game on April 21 for bumping into the umpire, served his suspension on Friday after losing his appeal.Suggest a correction