boston – It was a scene right out of the movies. A former major league right-hander spends the spring and early summer throwing batting practice to his son’s team before he returns to the bigs with six shutout innings.
That’s exactly what Paul Byrd did Sunday.
Byrd, making his first major league start since last September, held the Blue Jays to three hits and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with a 7-0 victory over Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’m throwing to a 13-and-under team and the Red Sox called and I say, ‘I don’t know how long I’ll take to get ready,’ ” said Byrd, still clutching the game ball and wearing the youth league hat in an interview room after the game.
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“I’m just so excited to be back. I want a World Series ring,” he said. “Hopefully I can help this team get there. I’ll clean toilets if I have to, and I told them that.”
Byrd (1-0), out of baseball after finishing last season with the Red Sox, signed a minor league contract on Aug. 5.
“I think he missed competing,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He’s with a team fighting for their playoff life, so he gets to be a part of that, which I think he enjoys.”
The win was the sixth in seven games for Boston, which moved 31/2 games ahead of Texas in the American League’s wild-card race after the Rangers lost to Minnesota, 5-3, on Sunday.
Scoring single runs in each of the first four innings, the Red Sox sent Halladay (13-8) to his third consecutive loss for the first time since last April.
“It’s a little tough to pitch when you don’t get any runs,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. The Blue Jays fell to 0-6 in Fenway Park this year and were swept in a three-game series by the Red Sox for the second time this month, losing at the Rogers Centre, Aug. 18-21.
Toronto lost for the 11th time in 14 games.
Billy Wagner, acquired Tuesday by Boston from the Mets for two players to be named, pitched one scoreless inning with three strikeouts and one hit in his debut. Takashi Saito, the fourth pitcher, completed the five-hit shutout.
Halladay, shopped at the July 31 trading deadline before he remained with Toronto, is 3-5 since the All-Star break.
“I felt fine. It’s a good offensive team. We make a couple mistakes here or there and you don’t score runs, it’s tough,” Halladay said.