Red-hot Red Sox target series win in Toronto

The Boston Red Sox have been piling up the runs as of late and look to keep the bats going when they shoot for a series win Thursday over the Toronto Blue Jays in the finale of a three-game set from Rogers Centre.

The Red Sox used a 10-run explosion in Wednesday's 10-1 triumph over the Blue Jays behind another stellar showing from staff ace Clay Buchholz. The right- hander became the first six-game winner in the majors by tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out eight batters. He walked three and held the hosts to a pair of hits.

Buchholz has given up just five runs in 44 2/3 innings.

"Its fun pitching good, like I said before, there's going to be bumps in the road, there's going to be starts out there when you don't have your best stuff and get hit around a little bit," Buchholz said. "Everybody has to go through it, but I'm going to try and ride the wave as long as it's there."

Mike Napoli helped back Buchholz with three of Boston's 15 hits, finishing with two homers, a double, four RBI and three runs scored. Stephen Drew went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and Daniel Nava and Mike Carp each added a solo shot for the Red Sox, winners in seven of their last nine.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was 1-for-3 with a double and has recorded a hit in each of his first 10 games. He is riding a 22-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

The Red Sox are two games ahead of the New York Yankees for the AL East lead and will send Ryan Dempster to the mound in the series finale at Toronto. Dempster started the season 0-2 with a 3.38 earned run average in his first four starts and recorded his first win Friday in a 7-3 defeat of Houston.

Dempster struck out 10 and limited the Astros to two runs in six innings. He has fanned 28 batters in the last three starts (43 overall) and is 0-0 with a 5.27 ERA in three career games (2 starts) against Toronto.

Boston will begin a three-game series at Texas this weekend.

The Blue Jays have lost five of six games and had no answer for Buchholz in Wednesday's lopsided affair.

Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis and Munenori Kawasaki recorded the hits for Toronto, which received a rough outing from Mark Buehrle. The left- hander allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out only one and permitting three walks.

"I feel like I'm right there, I'm a few pitches away from a quality start," said Buehrle, who is 1-2 in six starts and has surrendered 12 runs over his previous three trips to the mound.

Toronto will host Seattle for three games this weekend, but hopes J.A. Happ can pitch the ballclub to a series win over Boston tonight. Happ is 0-1 in his last three starts since opening the campaign with back-to-back wins. The lefty did not record a decision in Saturday's 5-4 loss at Yankee Stadium, where he was charged with three runs and eight hits in six innings.

Happ defeated the Red Sox on April 6 with 5 1/3 shutout innings in a 5-0 victory and is 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in four career games, three of which have been starts, against Boston.

The Red Sox won two of three meetings in Toronto earlier this month.