TORONTO (AP) — Typically a bottom of the order guy, shortstop Marco Scutaro was surprised to see his name in the sixth spot in the lineup when he showed up for Tuesday’s game.
“I was like ‘Are we trying today?,”‘ Scutaro joked.
Not just trying, but succeeding.
Jon Lester tied a season high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings to win his fourth straight decision, Scutaro and David Ortiz each matched a career-high with four hits and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 14-0.
“These nights it’s definitely fun to be on our side,” Lester said.
Lester (15-6) allowed just three hits, all singles, and walked one to improve to 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in five starts since losing at Minnesota on Aug. 10. He is also 4-0 in his last six starts against Toronto.
“He threw strikes, he threw his cutter with some power to it,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “That was good to see.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Josh Reddick homered as the Red Sox matched a season-high with 20 hits and scored at least two runs in each of the first five innings. It was the first time in franchise history Boston has achieved the feat, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau provided to the Blue Jays.
“That was a night we needed,” Francona said.
Scutaro has batted sixth just one other time this season, making the bulk of his starts batting ninth. Moving up in the order seemed to agree with him as he matched a career-high with three doubles, drove in four runs and reached base five times.
“I’ve been hitting the ball good for three weeks and it seems like everything I hit is right at people or they’re making diving plays,” Scutaro said. “It’s nice to have a day like this.”
Francona said he moved Scutaro up to give the lineup better balance. It certainly paid off.
“He had a great night,” Francona said. “He swung the bat terrific.”
The Red Sox finished with nine doubles and 11 extra-base hits, both season-highs.
Kyle Weiland pitched the final two innings for Boston.
Toronto lost for the fourth time in five games and 10th in the last 15.
After losing 1-0 in 11 innings in the series opener on Monday, the Red Sox jumped on Blue Jays left-hander Luis Perez (3-3) for four runs while batting around in the first inning. Adrian Gonzalez hit an RBI double, Ortiz and Scutaro had back-to-back RBI singles and Carl Crawford capped it with a run-scoring double.
Gonzalez singled home a run in the second and Kevin Youkilis followed with an RBI double but was thrown out trying to advance to third.
Boston made it 8-0 in the third on Saltalamacchia’s 15-homer, a two-run drive to center. Perez left three batters later after Dustin Pedroia reached on an error by Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Perez, winless in three starts, allowed a career-high eight runs and 10 hits in 2 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out one.
Boston piled on with three more against left-hander Rommie Lewis in the fourth. Ortiz and Scutaro hit consecutive RBI doubles and, two outs later, Darnell McDonald drove in Scutaro with a single to right.
Scutaro made it 13-0 in the fifth with a two-run double off Dustin McGowan, who was pitching in the majors for the first time since July 8, 2008. The oft-injured right-hander had been sidelined by two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery over the past three years.
“The first inning I was so pumped up I left everything up,” McGowan said.
After replacing Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth, Reddick made it 14-0 with a solo drive to right off McGowan in the eighth.
McGowan allowed three runs and five hits in four innings. He walked three and struck out five.
“The most encouraging thing was the way he didn’t really overwork to get his velocity,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. “That to me us a huge telltale sign to how a guy feels strength-wise.”
Boston infielder Nate Spears made his major league debut in the fifth, replacing Crawford. Jed Lowrie, sidelined for the past two games with a sore left shoulder, came on for Gonzalez in the seventh.
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Josh Beckett has been diagnosed with a sprained right ankle and will miss his next scheduled start, Sunday at Tampa Bay. Beckett left in the fourth inning Monday with soreness in his ankle. … Toronto SS Yunel Escobar returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore left wrist. … Blue Jays OF Colby Rasmus (right wrist) took swings off a tee before the game. … Toronto recalled 1B David Cooper, RHP Kyle Drabek and LHP Brad Mills from Triple-A Las Vegas and purchased the contracts of RHP Chad Beck, RHP Danny Farquhar and OF Adam Loewen from Triple-A. All six are expected to arrive Wednesday. To make room on the roster, the Blue Jays outrighted RHP P.J. Walters to Triple-A and will transfer OF Rajai Davis (left hamstring) from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)