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Jays' Villanueva takes on Red Sox in second game of series

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The Sports Network
7/21/2012 10:30:50 AM
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(Sports Network) - A pair of effective replacements in the their team's respective starting rotations will throw on Saturday night when the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox face off at Fenway Park.

The Blue Jays will start Carlos Villanueva, who's recently been inserted into the rotation after having success as a reliever early in the season.

Villanueva has been spectacular in July, going 2-0 in two starts, striking out 15 batters over 12 scoreless innings. The right-hander is now 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA on the season.

"I'm glad I came out on top today and keep us at least close to that second wildcard," Villanueva said following his last start. "We want every single game we play to matter."

The veteran has pitched in six games against Boston in his career, allowing six earned runs in 11 2/3 innings of work.

Red Sox will counter with Aaron Cook, who has given the team a much-needed boost in the starting rotation, going 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in five starts.

Cook was impressive in his last start on July 16, allowing just one unearned run over seven innings of work, though he earned the no decision in a 5-1 win.

The 33-year-old right-hander has been finding success despite striking out just two batters over 29 2/3 innings. The extreme lack of punchouts has been offset by great control however, as he has walked just two batters on the season.

The Blue Jays got a leg up on the series on Friday night when they downed the Red Sox, 6-1.

Toronto got the action started early with a pair of runs in each of the first two innings and never looked back.

Colby Rasmus went 2-for-5 with two RBI and Edwin Encarnacion scored two runs and knocked in his 63rd run of the season.

Aaron Laffey (2-1) pitched seven scoreless innings while allowing eight hits and no walks, striking out four in the process.

"He was using a successful recipe," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Laffey's performance. "There were a lot of strikes, (he) got ahead on the count and got a lot of groundballs."

Josh Beckett (5-8) continued his disappointing year, surrendering seven hits, three walks, and five runs (four earned) in six innings of work.

Mike Aviles knocked in the only run for the Red Sox.

These two clubs have split 10 meetings this season.

Carlos Villanueva (Photo: Brad White/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Brad White/Getty Images)
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