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Paul Byrd was pitching to kids a little less than a month ago. He felt like one after his return to the majors.
Making his first major league start and appearance since last September, the 38-year old Byrd pitched six shutout innings on Sunday and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with a 7-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I got the game ball today," Byrd said. "I'm like a kid. (Takashi) Saito gave it to me. It's a real nice gesture. I just forgot to put it down and here it is."
Byrd was pitching batting practice to a 13-and-under team when the Red Sox called to ask if he was interested in trying a comeback. And what a return it was. He struck out one and walked three, mixing speeds to keep the Blue Jays' off-balance.
Byrd (1-0), who finished last year with the Red Sox, signed a minor league contract on Aug. 5.
"He was good," Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. "His stuff hasn't changed."
The win was the sixth in seven games for Boston, which moved 31/2 games ahead of Texas in the AL wild-card race after the Rangers lost to Minnesota, 5-3, on Sunday.
Scoring a run in each of the first four innings, the Red Sox sent Roy Halladay (13-8) to a third consecutive loss for the first time since last April.
"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. "Early runs cost you games like that."
The Blue Jays, who lost their 11th in 14 games, fell to 0-6 at Fenway Park this season and were swept in a three-game series by the Red Sox for the second time this month.
Billy Wagner, acquired Tuesday from the New York Mets, pitched one scoreless inning with three strikeouts and one hit in his Red Sox debut.
Kevin Youkilis had an RBI double and a sacrifice fly, and Rocco Baldelli homered into the seats above the Green Monster to extend Boston's club record to 50 homers in August.
Byrd escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fourth when Jose Bautista flied out to the right-field warning track. Byrd pumped his fist into his glove when he walked off after striking out Adam Lind to end the fifth.
"That was my first strikeout in 11 months," he said.
This program aired on August 31, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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