Clay Buchholz allowed three singles in 81/3 innings, and Alex Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia's RBI singles made up for a Boston offense that sputtered in the early innings as the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Saturday night.
The Red Sox won for fifth time in six games and maintained their 2 1/2 game lead over Texas in the AL wild-card chase.
Buchholz gave up one run, struck out nine and walked two three days before the two-year anniversary of his no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles in his second big-league start.
He gave up an infield hit to Kevin Miller in the second, one up the middle by Lyle Overbay in the seventh and Jose Bautista's leading off the ninth.
Hideki Okajima gave up Adam Lind's double that scored Batista and Overbay's run-scoring single before Jonathan Papelbon got the final two outs for his 32nd save.
Toronto starter Ricky Romero took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits in 51/3 innings.
Buchholz's strong pitching overcame a Red Sox offense that squandered three excellent chances in the first three innings. Boston had nine base runners with six hits, two walks, a hit batsman and a passed ball mixed in, but it could only score one run.
The Blue Jays, who managed to get just two balls out of the infield against Buchholz in the first six innings, were a close call away from being hitless entering the seventh. Millar was ruled safe by first-base umpire Jim Wolf after shortstop Gonzalez went to his knees in the hole before firing to first.
Buchholz's first batter of the game may have been an indication that he had good stuff: Bautista ducked out of the way as a curveball broke over the plate for a called third strike.
The Red Sox led 1-0 after one, but it could have been more. They had runners on second and third with one out after Pedroia's RBI single, but he was picked off third and David Ortiz fanned to end the inning.
In the second, they loaded the bases with no outs but failed to score. Gonzalez bounded into a fielder's choice, with Jason Bay cut down at the plate by first baseman Overbay's throw before Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a double play.
An RBI single by Gonzalez and bases-loaded walk to Victor Martinez made it 3-0 in the sixth.