FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Clay Buchholz scattered three hits over four scoreless frames to extend his shutout streak to 8 1/3 innings during the Red Sox's 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday afternoon at JetBlue Park.
The right-hander said his continued work to hurry his pace on the mound and cut down time in-between pitches was positive Tuesday. He hopes to throw five innings in his next outing, and the minor right hamstring strain that arose at the very start of camp leaves him barely behind his rotation-mates, if at all.
"Strike one's been big," Buchholz said. "Didn't do it to a couple guys today, but I was able to get back into the count with a cutter or two-seamer to get a rollover or some weak contact. That's sort of been the name of the game for me the past three times out. Just be able to throw two-seam, four-seam, both sides of the plate and get ahead."
Manager John Farrell was impressed with Buchholz's outing.
"Anytime we see Clay put the ball on the ground, [it's good]," Farrell said. "He's got a sinker, he's got his late-action pitches working down in the zone, and that was the case again today."
Buchholz, who threw 45 pitches, retired the first seven batters he faced. The right-hander struck out one, walked none and worked around one-out hits in the third and the fourth. His shortstop, Pedro Ciriaco, ended the second by stabbing an Andy LaRoche liner out of the air.
"He's a great athlete man," Buchholz said. "If he's playing every day, that's going to happen a lot."
Ciriaco in turn had help from Blue Jays shortstop Ryan Goins and LaRoche at third. Toronto starter Justin Germano, who let up two runs in three innings and threw 29 of 38 pitches for strikes, got a pop-up from Ciriaco with one out in the third and the game scoreless. The sun appeared to be a factor despite cloud cover all game.
Three batters later, Dustin Pedroia's two-out RBI single made it 1-0. Mike Napoli, who went 2-for-3, banged one off the Monster that brought in another run.
Boston added one more for a 3-0 lead in the fourth on a Will Middlebrooks leadoff double that Ryan Sweeney, another Sox hitter who had two hits, followed with a single up the middle.
Germano struck out two, let up five hits and walked none.
"My last couple outings, I feel like there were just a couple plays that didn't go my way," Germano said. "But today I think I was down in the zone more consistently than I had been my last couple of outings, and in return got ground outs."
Toronto second baseman Jim Negrych, who's hitting .444 this spring and went 2-for-2, brought the Blue Jays back into a game they were trailing 3-0, with a two-run homer in the fifth.
Batting ninth, the left-handed-hitting Negrych launched his second homer of the Grapefruit League season.
Boston setup man Andrew Bailey threw a scoreless inning for the second straight appearance.
"Today, more than his last couple of outings, I thought he's done a better job of attacking the glove," Farrell said. "He might have had some pitches out over the middle of the plate in his last outing. I think his secondary pitches are probably a little more advanced in the early going right now to give him another couple of weapons to go to -- his curveball and slider both. He's been aggressive, and more than anything, I think, the health things are behind him."
Up next: The Sox are off Wednesday and return to Grapefruit League action on Thursday across town in Fort Myers at Hammond Stadium with a 1:05 p.m. ET game vs. the Twins. Right-hander Ryan Dempster is slated to start for Boston against Mike Pelfrey.