TORONTO — Francisco Liriano combined with three relievers on a six-hit shutout as the Toronto Blue Jays blanked the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
Liriano allowed four hits and a walk over 5 1/3 innings for his first win of the season. Reliever Joe Biagini retired all five batters he faced before Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna tossed an inning apiece.
Rick Porcello absorbed the loss for the Red Sox. Boston (9-6), which entered play in a virtual tie for first place in the American League East, had its four-game win streak come to an end.
Kevin Pillar had three hits for the Blue Jays, who improved to 3-11. The teams will play the rubber match of the three-game series Thursday afternoon.
The Boston defence stumbled in the second inning and it proved costly.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval was high with a throw to first, allowing Troy Tulowitzki to reach base. Russell Martin followed with a chopper that was misplayed by first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Porcello struck out Justin Smoak but Darwin Barney followed with a single to score both runners. Ezequiel Carrera brought Barney home with a single for a third unearned run.
Jose Bautista flew out with runners on the corners to end the frame.
Liriano (1-1), meanwhile, allowed only two Boston runners to reach base over the first four innings. Xander Bogaerts singled in the second and Hanley Ramirez reached on a Tulowitzki error in the fourth.
The Red Sox put two runners on in the fifth but Liriano got Sandy Leon to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
A pair of one-out singles in the sixth inning ended the veteran left-hander's night. Biagini came on and needed two pitches to get Ramirez to ground into a double play.
Liriano's earned-run average fell to 5.11 from 9.00. He had six strikeouts and threw 61-of-91 pitches for strikes.
Porcello (1-2), who won the American League Cy Young Award last year, allowed six hits and a walk while striking out five. He threw 76-of-110 pitches for strikes.
Grilli gave up a single and a walk before Betts grounded out to end the eighth. Osuna gave up a single to Moreland in the ninth before earning his first save.
Announced attendance was 30,842 and the game took two hours 45 minutes to play.
Notes: Betts fanned in the fourth inning for his first strikeout in 129 plate appearances. ... Right-hander Marco Estrada (0-1, 3.50 ERA) will start the series finale against Boston left-hander Chris Sale (1-1, 1.25). ... The Blue Jays' lowest win percentage for the month of April is .318 (7-15 in 1979 and 2004). ... Toronto will kick off a seven-game road swing Friday at Anaheim.
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