TORONTO (AP) — Try as they might, the struggling Toronto Blue Jays just can’t seem to build any momentum.
Facing the hottest pitcher in baseball didn’t help matters much.
Clay Buchholz pitched seven shutout innings to earn his major league-leading sixth win, Mike Napoli hit two of Boston’s five home runs and the Boston Red Sox routed the Blue Jays 10-1 on Wednesday night.
‘‘Buchholz just never gave us anything,’’ Blue Jays manager John Gibbons lamented.
After rallying to beat Boston 9-7 in Tuesday’s series opener, the last-place Blue Jays couldn’t follow up with another victory, opening May with their seventh loss in nine games. Toronto has won consecutive games just once this season, April 12 and 13 at Kansas City.
‘‘We keep saying it’s early but it’s going to be late before too long,’’ Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle said.
Toronto didn’t get a runner past first base until Adam Lind walked and went to third on Melky Cabrera’s single in the seventh. But Cabrera was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double before J.P. Arencibia struck out to end the inning.
‘‘When you’re able to command both sides of the plate and cut it and sink it on both sides of the plate, you know that’s why he’s been doing as (well) as he’s been doing,’’ Arencibia said of Buchholz.
Buehrle (1-2) surrendered three home runs for the second straight start and has allowed nine home runs in six starts this season. The left-hander gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked a season-high three and struck out one.
‘‘The home run ball bit him no doubt, but it’s a home run hitting park,’’ Gibbons said. ‘‘The whole division is like that.’’
Stephen Drew hit a two-run shot in the second inning and Napoli went back-to-back with Daniel Nava in the fourth as the Red Sox won their majors-best 19th game and improved to 8-3 away from home, the best road record in the big leagues.
The Red Sox have hit 16 home runs in five games at Rogers Centre this season. That’s one more than they've hit in their other 22 games combined.
‘‘When the roof is closed and it’s warm in here, the ball definitely flies,’’ Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Napoli hit a solo shot into the second deck in center in the fourth and followed up with a three-run shot into the third deck in the seventh. Napoli, who also doubled in the ninth, has six home runs this season and leads the majors with 21 extra-base hits.
‘‘Impressive, to say the least,’’ Farrell said.
Buchholz (6-0) allowed two hits, walked three and struck out eight, improving to 7-0 in his past eight starts at Toronto. The right-hander lowered his ERA to an AL-best 1.01. Only St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Jake Westbrook (0.98) is better.
‘‘Overall I felt really good with everything today,’’ Buchholz said.
Buchholz is off to the best beginning to a season by a Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett opened 7-0 in his first seven starts of 2007. He said his curveball was the best it’s been all season.
‘‘Today it definitely had a little bit more bite to it, it was a little bit more sharp,’’ Buchholz said.
Boston catcher David Ross, however, thought the two-seam fastball was Buchholz’s best pitch.
‘‘A lot of those guys knew what was coming and still couldn’t hit it,’’ Ross said.
Alex Wilson got two outs in the eighth and Clayton Mortensen worked the final 1 1-3 innings for Boston.
Three of Boston’s first five outs were fly balls to the warning track. After Middlebrooks was hit by a pitch in the second, Drew made sure he cleared the wall by homering into the second deck in right, his first.
Napoli led off the fourth with a drive to center, his fifth, and Nava followed with a shot to left, his fifth. It was the fourth time this season the Red Sox have hit consecutive homers, and the second time they've done it against Toronto.
Boston chased Buehrle and broke the game open with a four-run seventh, doing all its damage with two outs. Esmil Rogers came on after a two-out walk to Jonny Gomes, who went to third on Dustin Pedroia’s single and scored on a wild pitch. Ortiz was intentionally walked before Napoli clubbed his second home run of the night. For Napoli, it was the 11th multihomer game of his career and his first this season.
‘‘The game was still manageable going into the seventh inning there and then it exploded on us,’’ Gibbons said.
Ortiz went 1 for 3 and has hit safely in all 10 games since coming off the disabled list.
Pinch hitting for Ortiz, Mike Carp hit a solo drive off Justin Germano in the ninth, his second. Napoli followed with a double and scored on Nava’s single to center.Continued...