TORONTO -- Felix Doubront didn't pitch as deep into the game as the Red Sox would have liked. But while he was on the mound Monday night, there were no complaints.
Doubront allowed two runs on four hits while striking out six against the Toronto Blue Jays. The only problem was, thanks to his pitch count, he was lifted after five, having already thrown 101 pitches.
"That was a really well-pitched game by Felix," gushed manager Bobby Valentine. "He took spring training right into the game. I thought he had great stuff. His curve ball was terrific. His fastball was moving."
"I was pretty much focused on throwing strikes," said Doubront, who set a career high with his six strikeouts. "I was focusing on keeping the ball down, no matter what. I threw five innings and kept the score like that and waited for the team to get some runs and win the game."
Doubront said he understood the significance of the game after an 0-3 start in Detroit and concentrate on giving his team a chance to get its first win.
He also handled Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista expertly. Three times, Bautista came to the plate with runners on base and three times, Doubront won the battle.
The lefty got Bautista to hit into an inning-ending double play in the first, retired him on a flyout to right with two on and one out in the third and finally, got him to foul out weakly to third with a runner on first and one out in the fifth.
"I just kept the ball down and didn't elevate the four-seamer up," said Doubront. "He's a good hitter and he can do some damage if you leave the ball up over the plate. Pretty much, that was my approach to him -- keep the ball down. I did a pretty good job against him."
The only negative for Doubront was working deep into counts, and with it, running his pitch count up to the point where he could only give the team five innings.
"There were a lot of real close pitches," said Valentine. "I'm sure when the umpires get to know him and know that he's around the plate the way he is, he's going to get a lot more (calls his way)."