Cody Ross is coming up big for the surging Boston Red Sox.
Adrian Gonzalez 's recent tear is even more impressive.
The duo looks to continue sparking the Red Sox as they go for a sixth win in eight games Friday night against the sputtering Toronto Blue Jays.
Boston (48-45) has rebounded from a 1-6 stretch by winning five of seven since the All-Star break.
Ross is among the biggest reasons for the team's resurgence. He went 7 for 14 with three homers and nine RBIs as Boston took three of four from the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.
He belted a pair of three-run homers in Wednesday's 10-1 victory, and followed that up a day later by connecting for another in walkoff fashion to cap the series with a 3-1 win.
"I've always wanted to be up in those situations since I was like my son's age," Ross said. "It's a great feeling, especially when you're the hero."
Also a major contributor lately is Gonzalez, who is hitting .430 with 19 RBIs in his last 21 games. That stretch has raised his average 42 points to .298 and increased his slugging percentage from .392 to .440.
A series with Toronto (45-47) could keep Gonzalez and Ross hot.
Gonzalez is batting .358 with six homers and 26 RBIs in his past 23 meetings with the Blue Jays, while Ross has a .368 average with 10 runs in 10 matchups.
Gonzalez went 5 for 13 and drove in five as the Red Sox took two of three from the Jays at Fenway Park from June 25-27.
Scheduled Boston starter Josh Beckett (5-7, 4.44 ERA) looks to build on his first win in nearly a month.
The right-hander battled the flu and Tampa Bay on Sunday, allowing three runs and eight hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 7-3 road win. He had been 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA over his previous six outings.
Beckett will face Toronto for the first time this season after going 1-0 while allowing one run and fanning 15 in 10 2-3 innings over two starts in 2011.
The Blue Jays have lost seven of 10 were outscored 18-4 in three straight losses to the New York Yankees , including Wednesday's 6-0 rain-shortened defeat.
Losing slugger Jose Bautista to a left wrist injury has been a problem for Toronto, which scored one run in two games without its home run (27) and RBI (65) leader. Bautista is expected to be out until at least Aug. 1.
"I think we are all going to have to step up now that (Bautista's) out," Adam Lind told the team's official website.
Lind is hitting .323 in 19 games after a .186 average led to a demotion to the minors.
"My rhythm and timing, which is what I worked on (at Triple-A Las Vegas), is going well so far," said Lind, who is 8 for 19 with four doubles and a homer against Beckett.
Aaron Laffey (1-1, 3.38) is expected to take the mound in search of back-to-back winning starts. The left-hander was credited with an 11-9 victory over Cleveland on Saturday, allowing four runs and eight hits in five innings.
He's 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts at Fenway, but pitched six scoreless innings June 26 before leaving without a decision after the Red Sox rallied for a 5-1 victory.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|July 17, 2012||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left wrist inflammation|
|July 16, 2012||Jose Bautista||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left wrist injury|
|July 09, 2012||Luis Perez||Day-to-Day||Torn ligament in left elbow|
|July 09, 2012||Luis Perez||60-Day DL||Torn ligament in left elbow|
|July 07, 2012||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower back tightness|
|June 25, 2012||Robert Coello||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|Boston Red Sox|
|July 17, 2012||David Ortiz||15-Day DL||Right Achilles strain|
|July 14, 2012||Scott Atchison||15-Day DL||Right forearm tightness|
|July 04, 2012||Dustin Pedroia||15-Day DL||Jammed right thumb|
|July 04, 2012||Dustin Pedroia||15-Day DL||Jammed right thumb|
|July 03, 2012||Daisuke Matsuzaka||15-Day DL||Neck injury|
|June 20, 2012||Clay Buchholz||15-Day DL||Gastro-intestinal illness|
BOSTON (AP) -- Aaron Laffey talked about how relaxed he's been this season. He certainly made things look easy against the Boston Red Sox.
Laffey pitched seven shutout innings and Colby Rasmus drove in two runs, lifting the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-1 victory Friday night.
"It's a completely different mind-set with how I've attacked the game," he said. "I was kind of attacking it from a lower level of the mind. You hear about silence in martial arts. You achieve it and you move and flow better."
Laffey (2-1) scattered eight singles and worked out of trouble in the third and seventh innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter.
"I try and take things as stress-free as possible," he said. "I'm the one with the ball and nothing can happen until I throw it."
Laffey said he didn't throw a breaking pitch, used only three changeups and relied on mainly fastballs, changing the grip to make cut fastballs that forced different movements.
"He was using a successful recipe," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "There were a lot of strikes, got ahead on the count and got a lot of groundballs."
It was Laffey's second scoreless start against Boston this season. He held the Red Sox to three hits in six innings in Fenway Park on June 26.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Toronto, and was just its sixth in its last 15 games.
Boston, which entered the game leading the majors in runs, had won four of five.
Adam Lind added two hits and an RBI for the Blue Jays.
The 27-old Laffey is with the fourth team of his career. He was up with Toronto in April and May, but never appeared in a game before being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 11.
Josh Beckett (5-8) was plagued again by a rough opening inning and took the loss.
"I thought he had good stuff tonight," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said.
Beckett gave up five runs - four earned - and seven hits, striking out seven and walking three. Entering Friday's game, the right-hander had a 10.20 ERA in his opening innings and 3.36 combined in all others.
He struck out the first batter, Anthony Gose on a 93 mph fastball. Then Rasmus tripled off the base of the wall in right field and scored when he beat third baseman Will Middlebrooks ' throw on Edwin Encarnacion 's grounder by slipping his hand ahead of catcher Kelly Shoppach 's tag. J.P. Arencibia added an RBI single, making it 2-0.
In the second, Rasmus made it 4-0 with a two-run double into the gap in left-center.
"I thought Will made an aggressive play," Beckett said. "In the second, I needed to make a 3-2 pitch and didn't."
Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen each pitched one inning for the Blue Jays.
Unlike Thursday, when Boston was held scoreless until pulling out a win in the ninth, there wasn't much drama as the Red Sox scored their only run on Mike Aviles ' fielder's choice grounder with one out in the ninth.
Laffey had runners on first and second in the third, but got the next two hitters to fly out. In the seventh, the Red Sox had the first two batters reach with singles.
The Blue Jays made it 5-0 in the fifth on Lind's RBI single and a spattering of boos rained down on Beckett. Encarnacion reached second after Middlebrooks threw his infield hit into Boston's dugout for an error before Lind's hit. Yan Gomes ' run-scoring double made it 6-0 in the eighth.
NOTES: The Blue Jays recalled OF Travis Snider from Triple-A Las Vegas before the game and optioned RHP David Carpenter , acquired in the 10-player trade with Houston earlier Friday, to Triple-A. "For the time being he'll get most of the reps in left," Farrell said of Snider. ... Valentine had a nice pregame line when asked if there was any concern of injuries in walkoff celebrations after the Red Sox beat Chicago in their final at-bat Thursday night. "The more practice you have at celebrations, the better you get at it," he said. ... Red Sox RHP Andrew Bailey , who has not pitched this season as he recovers from right thumb surgery, threw off a mound Friday. Valentine said he may pitch a short batting practice in Texas on Wednesday. ... Farrell said Brandon Lyon and J.A. Happ, acquired from Houston in the trade Friday, should be with the team Saturday.