The Toronto Blue Jays tried to address their injury-ravaged rotation with a trade.
Carlos Villanueva is making his own surprising contribution.
Villanueva will try to help the Blue Jays return to .500 as they go for a second straight win against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday night.
In an effort to bolster their staff, the Blue Jays acquired pitchers J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter from Houston on Friday in exchange for closer Francisco Cordero , outfielder Ben Francisco and five minor leaguers.
Happ went 7-9 with a 4.83 ERA in 18 starts for the Astros this year, while Lyon and Carpenter have been used exclusively out of the bullpen.
"It shows that one we've made the commitment and addressed an area that's needed. It's depth to our overall pitching," manager John Farrell said. "What this means in the next 10, 11 days remains to be seen."
Farrell has to like what he's seen of late from Villanueva (4-0, 2.68 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts since moving into the rotation. He went 5-3 with a 5.15 ERA in 13 starts for the Blue Jays last season.
The right-hander's unexpected success as a starter has included 12 consecutive scoreless innings over his last two games. He yielded three hits and struck out a career-high eight in six innings in Sunday's 3-0 win over Cleveland.
This will be Villanueva's first start against Boston (48-46) since he was tagged for six runs in four innings of a loss with Milwaukee on May 18, 2008. He's allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings over five relief appearances since.
Aaron Cook (2-2, 3.34) has been equally surprising for the Red Sox, going 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts since being inserted into the rotation.
The right-hander was impressive again Monday, allowing an unearned run and five hits in seven innings but didn't get a decision in the 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox. Cook has two strikeouts and two walks in 29 2-3 innings this season.
"That's what he does, when you have that sinker you pitch to contact and he's not going to walk anyone," manager Bobby Valentine told the team's official website.
Cook is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays, but hasn't faced them since 2007 with Colorado.
It would seem he has a favorable matchup this time since Toronto is without three-time All-Star Jose Bautista , who went on the disabled list earlier this week with a wrist injury. However, the Blue Jays ended a three-game skid by beating the Red Sox 6-1 on Friday.
Toronto scored one less run than in its previous four games combined.
Lind is 11 for 24 with seven RBIs in his last seven games, while Rasmus is 6 for 18 with three extra-base hits and six RBIs in four visits to Fenway.
|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||60-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) -- The Toronto Blue Jays weren't getting much done against Red Sox starter Aaron Cook . Then his sinker stopped sinking.
Edwin Encarnacion tied the game with a two-run homer in the sixth, then J.P. Arencibia gave Toronto the lead with a seventh-inning solo shot and the Blue Jays beat Boston 7-3 on Saturday night.
"It was a combination of us coming to life and his sinker staying up a little," said Toronto manager John Farrell , whose team had just two hits heading into the sixth. "Cook was that good in the first five innings."
Carlos Villanueva (5-0) allowed three runs on four hits over 6 1-3 innings to win his third consecutive start. He walked two and struck out five.
"It was kind of a test - keeping the game within reach," Villanueva said. "Our guys came through, J.P. and Eddie, in a big way."
Cook (2-3) allowed five runs - three earned - on four hits and a walk while striking out one. He had allowed five earned runs in his previous four starts to drop his ERA from 20.25 to 3.34.
The victory lifted last-place Toronto to .500 and within one-half game of Boston in the AL East.
"Especially in our division, teams keep coming after you and coming after you," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "We need to try separate ourselves. There's nothing wrong with getting a five, six-run lead. ... We need to make sure we have better at-bats and try to pull away."
On the night dedicated to longtime catcher Jason Varitek , replacement Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a three-run homer in the second inning to break a scoreless tie. It was his 18th homer of the year, extending his career high.
But that was all the offense Boston got.
"After the three-run homer, he stabilized the game," Farrell said. "We weren't getting much done on Cook."
Toronto made it 3-1 in the third when Kelly Johnson led off with a double and eventually scored on Brett Lawrie 's sacrifice fly. Cook still had a two-hitter heading into the sixth before Colby Rasmus drew a two-out walk and Encarnacion followed with his 26th homer of the season.
Arencibia gave Toronto the lead on the first pitch of the seventh inning.
"If I had two pitches to take back the whole game, those would be the only two," Cook said. "I felt like, other than that, I was in a pretty good rhythm, putting the ball really where I wanted to. Just those two bad pitches, they made me pay for them tonight."
Yunel Escobar then reached on an error by third baseman Will Middlebrooks , chasing Cook from the game. After Rajai Davis walked, they pulled off a double-steal before scoring on Lawrie's single to left.
Davis also doubled to lead off the ninth and scored on Rasmus' fielder's choice.
The Red Sox had a ceremony before the game for Varitek, who helped the ballclub win two World Series in his 15-year career, including the 2004 title that snapped an 86-year drought. Varitek also caught four no-hitters, a major league record.
NOTES: The Red Sox are worried about the first-inning troubles of RHP Josh Beckett , who has a 10.69 ERA in the first inning of his 16 starts. Manager Bobby Valentine says Beckett warms up earlier than anyone else, then takes a break before the first pitch. "This is a dog that is hard to teach a new trick to," Valentine said. ... Red Sox SS Mike Aviles got the night off with turf toe. He was injured running the bases on Friday night, Valentine said. ... Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury also got the night, his first since returning from the DL. ... J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon , who were acquired in a trade from Houston on Friday, made their Blue Jays debut. Happ retired the only two batters he faced and Lyon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. ... Boston committed two errors for two unearned runs. Toronto had one error, which did not result in a run.