Boston at Toronto

W: J. Litsch (1-0) L: C. Buchholz (0-1)
HR: BOS - None   TOR - F. Thomas (1)

Thomas, Eckstein provide the punch in Jays' rout of BoSox wire reports

TORONTO -- Frank Thomas figured out what was wrong with his swing: a bad helmet.

Thomas went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer after switching batting helmets before the game, and the Toronto Blue Jays used a six-run eighth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-2 on Saturday.

David Eckstein added three RBI as Toronto won its six straight against Boston, including the 2007 season.

A notoriously slow starter, Thomas struggled at the plate this spring and decided his helmet was to blame, demanding a new one from Toronto's equipment manager.

"That was a bad helmet," Thomas said. "I had that same helmet all spring and it didn't work out. I had to get rid of it."

First baseman Lyle Overbay doesn't care what Thomas wears to the plate as long as he feels good.

"Whatever gets him in the right frame of mind," Overbay said. "Guys will talk themselves into some good things. That's what it's all about, talking yourself into good habits and getting that confidence. If you've got all the confidence in the world, you're going to hit."

Blue Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits over five innings for the win. He walked three -- one intentional -- and struck out two.

The Red Sox missed a chance to get to Litsch in the third. Julio Lugo was hit by a pitch and Dustin Pedroia singled him to third. Litsch walked Manny Ramirez intentionally to load the bases, but got out of it when Mike Lowell popped to first.

"Obviously, we're not clicking on all cylinders quite yet," catcher Jason Varitek said. "They've thrown the ball better than us and they've hit the ball better than us so far. We've got to continue to grind through these things."

Boston's Clay Buchholz (0-1) gave up four runs -- three earned -- and six hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out seven.

Buchholz, who went 1-3 with a 10.03 ERA in four spring training starts, found some positive in his first start of the regular season.

"I felt this whole spring that all the runners I've got on base, I let them score," Buchholz said. "I felt like the damage control today was a lot better.

"I hadn't thrown a lot of sliders during the spring and that was a key pitch for me today," Buchholz added. "It's a key first-strike pitch that I threw a lot today."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona liked what he saw from the second-year right-hander.

"Some of those changeups he threw, and a couple of breaking balls, they were as good as you're going to see," Francona said.

A two-run error by Boston first baseman Sean Casey and RBI singles from Eckstein and Overbay gave the Blue Jays a 4-2 lead after four.

Toronto broke it open with six runs in the sixth off three Boston relievers. Eckstein had a two-run single, Alex Rios an RBI double, Vernon Wells had a run-scoring single and Thomas hit a two-run drive to center, his first.

"They got into our bullpen and did what good offensive clubs do," Francona said. "The best thing your guys in the bullpen can do is locate when they come in right off the bat. When they don't, it can lead to runs."

Ramirez had an RBI double in the first and Casey singled home a run in the fourth.

Ramirez and David Ortiz are a combined 1-for-14 through the first two games of the series.

Toronto right-hander Randy Wells made his major league debut with a scoreless ninth.


  • Boston right-hander Josh Beckett (lower back strain) will be activated off the disabled list Sunday and make his season debut against Toronto's Roy Halladay (0-1).
  • NHL Hall of Famer Johnny Bower attended the game.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Come on, no human leg can stop David Eckstein (3 RBI) when he sets his mind on scoring. (AP)
Come on, no human leg can stop David Eckstein (3 RBI) when he sets his mind on scoring. (AP)

Players of the Game

D. Eckstein
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0

F. Thomas
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Boston Red Sox
Julio Lugo, SS4010011 .294
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4020100 .250
David Ortiz, DH4100113 .091
Manny Ramirez, LF3011102 .250
    Jacoby Ellsbury, LF0000000 .182
Mike Lowell, 3B4010004 .208
J.D. Drew, RF4120011 .333
Jason Varitek, C2000102 .211
    Kevin Cash, C1000011 .333
Sean Casey, 1B4011003 .200
Coco Crisp, CF4000001 .235
2B - Dustin Pedroia (2, Wolfe), Manny Ramirez (3, Litsch), J.D. Drew (1, Litsch)
RBI - Manny Ramirez (6), Sean Casey (1)
2-OUT RBI - Manny Ramirez (4)
Team LOB - 10
DP - Varitek-Pedroia
E - Sean Casey (1, Misplayed grounder), Julio Lugo (1, Throwing)
Boston Red Sox
Clay Buchholz (L,0-1) 5643270 5.40
Kyle Snyder 0.1022200 21.60
Bryan Corey 0.1444001 11.25
Julian Tavarez 2.1100100 0.00
WP - Kyle Snyder (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Clay Buchholz 89-57, Kyle Snyder 11-1, Bryan Corey 19-13, Julian Tavarez 31-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clay Buchholz 7-2, Kyle Snyder 1-0, Julian Tavarez 3-4
Batters Faced - Clay Buchholz 24, Kyle Snyder 3, Bryan Corey 5, Julian Tavarez 9
Toronto Blue Jays
David Eckstein, SS5123001 .238
Matt Stairs, LF4000034 .182
    Buck Coats, LF1000000 .000
Alex Rios, RF5121013 .353
Vernon Wells, CF3211201 .278
Frank Thomas, DH5122001 .235
Lyle Overbay, 1B4121010 .316
Aaron Hill, 2B3210112 .316
Marco Scutaro, 3B2200212 .231
Gregg Zaun, C3011002 .231
2B - Alex Rios 2 (2, Buchholz, Corey)
HR - Frank Thomas (1, Corey)
SH - Gregg Zaun (1)
RBI - David Eckstein 3 (5), Alex Rios (4), Vernon Wells (3), Frank Thomas 2 (4), Lyle Overbay (2), Gregg Zaun (1)
2-OUT RBI - Alex Rios (2), Vernon Wells (3), Frank Thomas 2 (4)
CS - David Eckstein (1, 2nd base by Buchholz/Varitek)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Overbay
Toronto Blue Jays
Jesse Litsch (W,1-0) 5522320 3.60
Brian Tallet (H,3) 1000000 0.00
Brian Wolfe 1200010 4.50
Jason Frasor 1100010 0.00
Randy Wells 1000100 0.00
IBB - Ramirez by Jesse Litsch
HBP - Lugo (by Jesse Litsch)
Pitches-Strikes - Jesse Litsch 83-49, Brian Tallet 10-5, Brian Wolfe 25-17, Jason Frasor 16-11, Randy Wells 12-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jesse Litsch 8-4, Brian Tallet 1-2, Brian Wolfe 2-0, Jason Frasor 1-1, Randy Wells 2-1
Batters Faced - Jesse Litsch 23, Brian Tallet 3, Brian Wolfe 5, Jason Frasor 4, Randy Wells 4
Game Information
Attendance - 35238
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Scott Barry, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Andy Fletcher