TORONTO (AP) — With Boston’s booming bats backing him up, Rick Porcello knew he didn’t have to be perfect to beat the Blue Jays.
Dustin Pedroia had three hits and two RBIs, Porcello pitched six innings to win his season debut and the Red Sox topped Toronto 8-4 on Saturday.
Boston has scored at least six runs and finished with at least 10 hits in all four games this season, the third time in team history they’ve done so — along with 1950 and 1985.
“Our offense has been doing a fantastic job,” Porcello said. “With the lineup that we have and the things they’re doing right now, our job (as starting pitchers) is to keep us in the game and pitch as deep as possible. That’s it.”
Pablo Sandoval was the only Red Sox starter who didn’t record a hit. Manager John Farrell said consistency up and down the lineup has led to a sense of trust and belief among Boston’s batters.
“No one feels like they’ve got to be the guy in a given inning,” Farrell said. “They pass the baton, get on base and I think that’s one of the primary reasons we’re scoring the number of runs that we are.”
Jose Bautista hit a pair of two-run home runs, his first two of the season, but the Blue Jays lost their fourth straight. It’s Toronto’s longest skid since a five-game losing streak from May 13-17, 2015.
Hanley Ramirez tripled home the tiebreaking run on a ball that bounced over Bautista’s head in the fifth. Ramirez later scored on a passed ball.
“We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of plays,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Porcello (1-0) came in 4-7 with a 5.29 ERA in 12 career games against Toronto and overcame Bautista’s twin blasts to earn the victory. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.
“He did bend but he didn’t break,” Farrell said.
Koji Uehara worked the seventh and Robbie Ross Jr. handled the final two innings.
R.A. Dickey (1-1) allowed seven runs, six earned, and eight hits in five innings.
Bautista homered in the first to put the Blue Jays on top but Boston answered with three in the third. Pedroia drove in a run with a grounder before Xander Bogaerts and Travis Shaw each hit RBI doubles.
Bautista connected again in the bottom half, making to 4-3, but the Red Sox tied it in the fourth on Blake Swihart’s sacrifice fly.
It was the 29th multihomer game of Bautista’s career.
With runners at first and second in the fifth, Ramirez lined a ball that bounced over Bautista’s head in right and was scored a two-run triple. Ramirez scored when catcher Josh Thole couldn’t handle Dickey’s first pitch to Sandoval. Thole finished with two passed balls and Dickey also had a wild pitch.
“Believe it or not, that may be the best knuckleball I’ve ever seen him have,” Gibbons said. “It was everywhere.”
PANDA’S BIG BELT
Sandoval’s belt came undone as he swung and missed a pitch from Dickey in the second. Sandoval took off the belt and tossed it to on deck hitter Brock Holt. After striking out, Sandoval was caught on camera putting the belt back on in the Red Sox dugout.
THE STREAK CONTINUES
Pedroia has reached base safely in 41 straight games against AL East opponents, dating to April 15, 2015. He’s also reached safely in 23 consecutive games against the Blue Jays, a streak that began July 29, 2014.
Red Sox: Sandoval made his first start of the season at third base and Rusney Castillo made his first start in center field. David Ortiz got the day off. Farrell said Chris Young will make his first start of the season Sunday. … C Christian Vasquez (right elbow surgery) went 1 for 2 with a double and two walks in the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket Friday. Vasquez is scheduled to catch the second game of a doubleheader Saturday.
Blue Jays: Donaldson (right calf) started at DH for the second straight day and likely won’t return to third base until Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, manager John Gibbons said. Toronto is off Monday.
Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright makes his season debut and will face Toronto for the first time in his career.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada will come off the DL after missing the start of the season with a sore back. Estrada was 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA in three games — including two starts — against Boston last season.