(Sports Network) - Right-hander Clay Buchholz can avoid both a three-game sweep for Boston and a three-game losing streak for himself when the Red Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays in the finale of a weekend series at Fenway Park.
A 17-game winner two seasons ago before he was limited to just 14 starts in 2011, Buchholz got win No. 11 this year with eight innings of three-run ball against Baltimore on Aug. 16 at Camden Yards.
He's dropped two decisions in three subsequent tries at win No. 12, allowing 24 hits and 15 runs in 19 1/3 innings in two starts against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and another at Seattle.
The Red Sox had won five of his previous six starts dating back to mid-July, while he trimmed his earned run average from 5.19 to 4.19.
Buchholz last faced the Blue Jays on June 1 in Toronto and was a 7-2 winner after allowing six hits and two runs with seven strikeouts in eight innings.
He's 8-3 in 13 career meetings with them, with a 2.55 ERA.
The Blue Jays go with righty Carlos Villanueva, who can get back above .500 for his big-league career in his 298th appearance.
The 28-year-old Dominican has won 33 decisions and lost 33 decisions dating back to his 2006 debut with the Milwaukee Brewers. He won 20 games with the Brewers through 2010 and has won 13 times with Toronto in the subsequent two seasons since a December 2010 trade.
Villanueva was 6-0 this season before a prolonged skid in August saw him lose four consecutive decisions over five starts before he finally downed Tampa Bay, 2-0, with six innings of five-hit ball on Aug. 30.
In one September start, he was beaten, 12-0, by Baltimore after allowing six runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Villanueva, who beat Boston on July 21 for his fifth win of 2012, is 2-1 lifetime against the Red Sox with a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings.
On Saturday, Anthony Gose drove in five runs and hit his first career home run as Toronto trampled the Red Sox, 9-2.
"His contact point has gotten to a much better place on the front edge of the plate," Toronto manager John Farrell said. "He turns on a good fastball and he shows you the power that's in there."
Yunel Escobar also hit a home run, his ninth of the season. His leadoff homer started a five-run inning for the Blue Jays.
Brad Lincoln (1-0) came in to pitch when play resumed after rain delayed the game in the fifth inning. Starter Aaron Laffey pitched effectively through 4 2/3 innings, allowing just four hits and two runs.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5) was charged with the loss, lasting just 1 1/3 innings, getting rocked for five runs on five hits before being relieved.
"It's tiring," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "Guys are tired of playing from behind, I'll guarantee you that. The bullpen is tired of just eating up innings. It's tough."
Pedro Ciriaco and Scott Podsednik drove in runs in the Red Sox third consecutive loss.
Toronto is 9-5 versus the Red Sox in 2012.