TORONTO (AP) - Drew Hutchison has been the most consistent member of the Blue Jays rotation in recent weeks.
The 21-year-old rookie won for the fourth time in five starts, Jose Bautista backed him with a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Bard and the Boston Red Sox 5-1 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
``Hutch continues to mature right in front of us,' Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. ``He kept going, kept putting up zeros, kept the momentum on our side.'
Hutchison (5-2) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings, matching his career-high. He walked one and struck out five.
Bautista added his own praise for Hutchison, who made his major league debut with a win at Kansas City on April 21 and has yet to lose consecutive starts.
``He's been great ever since he got called up,' Bautista said. ``He's given us a chance to win almost every time he's pitched. He throws strikes and keeps the game going. It's a treat to play behind guys like that.'
Hutchison, who jumped from Double-A to the majors, has allowed just one earned run in his past 14 innings.
``It's all about finding my release point, finding my arm slot and getting into a rhythm,' he said. ``Obviously, I have the same confidence I had when I came up.'
The Blue Jays took advantage of an erratic performance by Boston right-hander Daniel Bard (5-6), who allowed five runs, walked six, struck out two and hit two batters in 1 2-3 innings, his shortest career start.
``Daniel just couldn't find it, obviously,' Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. ``He was hoping he was going to find a pitch or find a release point that would work for him.'
In an ill-tempered game that featured four hit batters, home plate umpire Mike Winters warned both benches after Boston's Kevin Youkilis was drilled on the shoulder in the sixth. Youkilis stepped in front of the plate and yelled at Hutchison, but the situation did not escalate.
Youkilis did not speak to reporters following the game, but his manager denied talk of retaliation or bad blood.
``I didn't think any of them were intentional,' Valentine said.
Hutchison insisted he did not intend to hit Youkilis.
``I was trying to go away,' he said. ``I tried to put a little bit extra on it and I just missed. That's it.'
Toronto designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, one of two Blue Jays to be hit on the hand by pitches in the second, stayed in the game to run but did not bat again when his turn came up in the fifth. He was replaced by Jeff Mathis.
After having X-rays, Encarnacion was diagnosed with a bruised hand.
Bard walked the first two batters of the game before Bautista blasted a homer off the facing of the second deck in left, his 14th of the season and second in two days.
Bautista's three-run drive snapped a streak of eight consecutive solo shots by Blue Jays batters.
Encarnacion followed with a four-pitch walk but Bard got David Cooper to ground into a double play, then got Brett Lawrie to fly out to center.
Things weren't much better for Bard in the second, which began with back-to-back walks followed by consecutive strikeouts. Yunel Escobar was hit on the hand to load the bases for Bautista, who drove in a run with a walk. That brought up Encarnacion, who was left yelping after being hit on the left hand.
That was all for Bard. Franklin Morales came on and ended the inning by getting Cooper to foul out to third.
Bautista's homer was the only hit allowed by Bard, who came in having won three of his previous four starts. Just 24 of his 55 pitches were for strikes, and his ERA rose from 4.56 to 5.24.
``The first couple of innings was tough,' Valentine said.
Kelly Shoppach provided the only Boston run, drilling a two-out homer to center in the fifth, his third.
Darren Oliver got two outs in the eighth and Francisco Cordero got the third before Casey Janssen finished in the ninth for Toronto.
NOTES: Bard's career-high in walks is seven, set April 16 against Tampa Bay. The only run Bard allowed in 6 2-3 innings that day was on a bases loaded walk to Evan Longoria. ... Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia (right thumb) reported no pain from his batting practice session Saturday. Pedroia is expected to hit again Monday, an off-day for Boston. ... Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow, who left Wednesday's start after being hit on the right shin by a batted ball, threw his scheduled bullpen session Sunday and remains on track to make his next start, Wednesday at Chicago against the White Sox.
The Associated Press News Service
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