By IAN HARRISON
TORONTO (CBS Connecticut and AP) – J.A. Happ got his 18th win, Melvin Upton Jr. hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Boston 3-2 on Saturday, closing within one game of the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Toronto stopped a four-game losing streak and avoided matching its longest skid this season. Devon Travis had three hits for the Blue Jays and is 6 for 9 in the first two games of the series.
Happ (18-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six-plus innings to win for the first time since Aug. 17 at the New York Yankees, ending a three-start winless streak. He didn’t allow a hit until Chris Young’s one-out single to center in the fifth.
Upton hit his 20th homer, a two-run drive in the second off Eduardo Rodruguez (2-7). Upton has 25 stolen bases and reached the 20-20 mark for the fourth time.
Jose Bautista made it 3-0 with an RBI bloop single just beyond the reach of shortstop Xander Bogaerts in the third.
Dustin Pedroia homered off Happ leading off the sixth and has a 28-game hitting streak against the Blue Jays.
Happ left after back-to-back singles by Hanley Ramirez and Aaron Hill put runners at the corners in the seventh. Joaquin Benoit gave up a sacrifice fly to Jackie Bradley Jr., then struck out pinch-hitter Travis Shaw struck out.
Jason Grilli pitched the eighth, and Roberto Osuna finished for his 31st save in 34 chances, striking out Bradley with a man on for the final out.
Rodriguez allowed three runs – two earned – and four hits in six innings. He is winless in nine starts but has allowed more than three earned runs just once in that stretch.
Red Sox: OF Andrew Benintendi (left knee) is to try sliding in a simulated game Tuesday at Fenway Park, manager John Farrell said. It is expected to be Benintendi’s final test before coming off the DL.
Blue Jays: C Russell Martin returned after leaving Wednesday’s game and sitting out Friday with a sore left knee. Martin leaped into the Red Sox dugout in search of a foul popup in the fifth.
RHP Clay Buchholz (6-10) starts Sunday’s series finale for Boston and RHP Aaron Sanchez (13-2) for Toronto. Buchholz is 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his past four starts. Sanchez allowed two home runs Tuesday in a 7-6 loss at the Yankees, matching the total in his previous 10 outings.
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