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Donaldson Homers As Blue Jays Avoid Sweep By Red Sox

Associated Press

TORONTO — The Red Sox racked up a lot of runs in their first four games of the season.

Their streak ended against Toronto righthander Marco Estrada.

Estrada pitched seven shutout innings, Josh Donaldson hit a solo home run and the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 3-0 on Sunday, avoiding a three-game sweep.

Activated off the 15-day DL before the game after missing the start of the season with a sore lower back, Estrada (1-0) gave up five hits, walked two and struck out eight.

"The three times I faced him, he didn't give me one good pitch to hit," Dustin Pedroia said. "He was on the corners, his changeup was great."

Sox manager John Farrell said Estrada had a "Bugs Bunny type of changeup."

"You could seemingly almost sit on the changeup and it wouldn't get to home plate," Farrell said.

Boston came up empty after scoring at least six runs and getting at least 10 hits in each of the first four games.

"[Estrada] pitched a heck of a game against us," Farrell said. "We've been swinging the bat well here and throughout this road trip and he shut us down."

Estrada's efficient outing helped Toronto avoid its first five-game skid since May 13-17, 2015.

"It's early in the season but we needed that game," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Drew Storen worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna finished for his third save to complete the seven-hitter.

Toronto used two singles and a walk to load the bases with nobody out in the first. Jose Bautista was forced out at second on Edwin Encarnacion's RBI grounder to short, but Pedroia threw high to first as he tried to complete the double play, allowing a second run to score.

"The throw just got away from him," Farrell said.

After reaching on a fielder's choice in the third, Pedroia was thrown out at home plate trying to score from first on Xander Bogaerts' double into the right-field corner. Second baseman Ryan Goins took the throw from Bautista and fired a perfect relay to catcher Russell Martin, who tagged Pedroia on the lower left leg just before he slid across the plate.

"They executed it perfectly," Pedroia said. "They just put every throw on the money."

Estrada wasn't troubled again, retiring 12 of the final 15 batters he faced.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright (0-1) allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits over 6 2-3 innings in his season debut. He's the first Boston starter this season to pitch into the seventh inning, and the first to take a loss.

Donaldson made it 3-0 with a first-pitch drive off Noe Ramirez in the eighth. The homer was his fourth, tying him with Seattle's Robinson Cano for the AL lead.

Donaldson's homer ended a streak of 9 1-3 scoreless innings by Boston relievers.

Boston's Brock Holt was not available to pinch hit after fouling a ball off his right foot Saturday. X-rays were negative and Holt is expected to be available for Monday's home opener against Baltimore.

RHP Carson Smith (strained forearm) reported no problems following a 25-pitch bullpen session Saturday. Smith will throw another bullpen Monday or Tuesday, manager John Farrell said.

LHP David Price (1-0, 3.00) makes his second start for Boston as the Red Sox face undefeated Baltimore in their home opener Monday. RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 1.80) starts for the Orioles, 5-0. Price is 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 19 starts against Baltimore.

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