's curveball was so sharp that he threw it for a strike when he didn't even try.
Buchholz allowed just three singles in 8 1-3 innings, and
's RBI singles made up for a Boston offense that sputtered in the early innings as the
Toronto Blue Jays
3-2 on Saturday night.
Mixing fastballs with a changeup and his sharp curve, Buchholz struck out nine and walked two three days before the two-year
anniversary of his no-hitter over the
in his second big-league start.
Buchholz's first batter of the game may have been an indication that he had good stuff:
ducked out of the way as a curveball broke over the plate for a called third strike.
''I had a good one from my first batter to my last,'' he said. ''I had a good one in the bullpen. I was actually was trying
to throw (the one to Batista) down in the dirt. It ended up catching part of the plate.''
won for fifth time in six games and maintained their 2 1/2 game lead over Texas in the AL wild-card chase. The Rangers beat
Minnesota, 3-0, on Saturday.
Buccholz gave up an infield hit to Kevin Miller in the second, one up the middle by
in the seventh and Batista's leading off the ninth.
''That was a terrific game,'' Boston manager
said. ''I actually think when he establishes his fastball and makes hitters respect that, it makes his changeup that much
better and you start adding two breaking balls for strikes, it gives them a lot of different looks.''
's RBI double that scored Batista and Overbay's run-scoring single before
got the final two outs for his 32nd save.
(11-6) took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Buchholz's strong pitching overcame a
offense that squandered three excellent chances in the first three innings. Boston had nine baserunners with six hits, two
walks, a hit batsman and a passed ball mixed in, but it could only score one run.
''He was locating his changeup,'' Overbay said. ''He mixed up hit pitches very well.''
In fact, Buchholz felt he may have had better control Saturday than in his no-hitter two years ago.
''I think it was better tonight than it was that one night,'' he said, before thinking it over a bit more. ''I'd have to go
look at the film to see how I was throwing.''
, 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.
''We didn't get hits until later in the ballgame so we weren't a threat earlier,'' Toronto manager
led 1-0 after one, but it could have been a lot more. They had runners on second and third with one out after Pedroia's RBI
single, but he was picked off third and
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
cut down at the plate by first baseman Overbay's throw before
grounded into a double play.
In the third, they put runners on first and third with one out, but Ortiz struck out and
bounced weakly to first after Bay walked to load the bases.
An RBI single by Gonzalez and bases-loaded walk to
made it 3-0 in the sixth.
NOTES: Francona said after the game that RHP
will be recalled from Pawtucket and start Sunday. RHP
, recalled before the game, was sent back.