Friday night, Porcello, just starting his five-year, $82.5 million contract extension the Sox gave him before he'd thrown a pitch for the team, looked more like the 15-game winner the Sox traded for than the 15-game loser that helped them finish last in '15.
"He did a really nice job of throwing his fastball on both sides of the plate, manager John Farrell said after Porcello pitched 6 1/3 strong innings in a 5-3 Red Sox win in the opener of a four-game series. "Against a really powerful right-handed hitting lineup, I thought he pitched in effectively. He used enough secondary pitches to set up his fast ball."
And he threw to catcher Christian Vazquez, the defensive whiz activated before the game after missing a year-plus with Tommy John surgery.
"He and Vazky hooked up well and the execution on Rick's part was very good tonight," said Farrell.
Vazquez went 2-for-4, scored two runs and picked Troy Tulowitzki off first base.
Porcello (2-0) allowed a second-inning home run to Edwin Encarnacion (his first homer of the season) and that was the only hit for the Jays (5-6) until Encarnacion, who had all three Toronto hits, cracked a two-run shot in the seventh.
"They're good," said Porcello. "It's hard to work through that whole lineup and not get hurt by one."
Porcello, who left one batter after Encarnacion's two-run blast, and wasn't thrilled about leaving, struck out eight and walked one in his first victory at Fenway Park since last Sept. 7.
Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel worked the last 2 2/3 innings with Kimbrel surviving a two-out threat in the ninth to notch his second save in as many games. He dealt Justin Smoak his fourth strikeout of the game to end it with two on.
The Jays struck out 12 times and have gone down 112 times in 11 games.
"I've got no idea why," said manager John Gibbons. "We're very aggressive, that's kind of our mentality. We've got a lot of guys too that have got a real good idea of the strike zone. That's not initially uncommon when you start pressing a little bit, you try to make something happen. That will change."
Travis Shaw's two-run double off R.A. Dickey (1-2) capped a three-run first inning that also included an RBI double by David Ortiz, who later added his first stolen base since 2013 when the Jays didn't hold him on.
Mookie Betts singled home a run in the second and Dustin Pedroia did the same in the sixth as the Red Sox improved to 5-4.
Dickey, 4-0 against the Red Sox in 2014, came in 0-4 with a 5.36 ERA in seven starts since. Those numbers got worse early as Boston scored four runs -- two earned -- in the first two innings.
"Hopefully this will be just another blip on the radar, but you can't be great every time," said Dickey, who lasted 4 2/3. "There's a lot of good things that are occurring for me. So I've got to keep positive."
The Encarnacion homers were clearly the highlight of the visitors' night.
"I've been feeling a lot better after day by day," he said. "I try to keep working and keep (helping) my team and try to get my timing back."
Added Gibbons: "That's big for Eddie. Eddie's a home run hitter. That was his first two of the year, so he feels good about that. He's dangerous."
Gibbons added some levity to the evening when, coming out to call on ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte, he signaled with both hands. Venditte stranded two runners by retiring Brock Holt, but was charged with a run in the next inning.
NOTES: Boston sent C Blake Swihart to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he will also play LF - and the Red Sox recalled INF Marco Hernandez. ... LHP David Price, who is 16-2 lifetime against Toronto, makes his first start against the Jays since leaving for free agency when he faces RHP Marco Estrada in Saturday's second game of a series that ends with the Monday morning Boston Marathon game. ... The Red Sox had just finished playing the 2013 morning game when the bombs during the Boston Marathon went off not far from Fenway. "The thing that we take away from it was how much we came together as a city and the unity that you felt," Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday. "In many ways, it was something that propelled us (to a World Series title.)" ... Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval will see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion regarding Sandoval's injured left shoulder. "There's a great deal going on in his left shoulder from a medical perspective," said team president Dave Dombrowski.