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Napoli home run leads Red Sox over Blue Jays in extra innings

TORONTO — Mike Napoli hit a mammoth three-run homer into the upper deck and Allen Craig added a two-run shot as the Boston Red Sox scored seven in the 11th inning to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-7 on Tuesday night.

It was the fourth straight extra-innings game for the Jays — and sixth in their last seven home contests (3-3). Their season record in extra innings dropped to 4-6. But this one turned into a rout rather than a slim win although the Jays answered with three runs in their half of the 11th.

Mookie Betts opened the Boston half of the 11th with a single off Casey Janssen (3-2). Betts was called out at second when Christian Vasquez bunted the ball to Janssen but the call was overturned after a 76-second review. Janssen then mishandled Brock Holt’s sacrifice bunt to load the bases, setting the stage for Dustin Pedroia’s two-run single.

Sergio Santos, the Jays’ seventh pitcher on the night, took over for Janssen and, one out later, gave up the 17th fifth-deck homer in the history of the Rogers Centre. Napoli’s blast to left field was his 16th homer of the season. After Daniel Nava doubled, Craig hit his eighth homer of the season to right field.

Toronto threw in the towel, sending in infielder Steve Tolleson to pitch. Throwing in the low 70s m.p.h., Tolleson somehow managed to staunch the wound by striking out Will Middlebrooks and inducing Betts to fly out at the warning track.

Pedroia, with his second two-run home run in as many nights after an 18-game drought, also homered for Boston in the first inning.

Showing his full arsenal, Tolleson singled in the bottom half of the 11th. Dioner Navarro’s double and Danny Valencia’s single with two out cut the lead to 11-7.

The Jays outhit Boston 15-14 in a game that took four hours 33 minutes. Junichi Tazawa (3-3), the seventh pitcher for the Red Sox, got the win.

Toronto’s record in August dropped to 6-16 while Boston notched its second straight win after snapping an eight-game slide Monday night to open the series.

The Jays came into the game having lost nine of their last 12 and 11 of their last 16.

Toronto (66-66) has now lost six of eight series (1-6-1) dating back to July 31. The Jays were last at .500 on May 15 when they were 21-21.

Toronto had a chance to end it in the bottom of the ninth. Adam Lind doubled off the centre field fence with two out, giving way to pinch runner Tolleson. Boston intentionally walked Edwin Encarnacion. But pinch hitter Navarro struck out against Edward Mujica.

Reliever Aaron Sanchez, the loser in a 4-3 extra-innings Red Sox win Monday night, kept the Jays alive by striking out Napoli in the top of the ninth to strand Boston runners on first and second after a single, forceout and infield single.

The Jays rallied from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits before a crowd of 27,321 at Rogers Centre.

Janssen, who has had his problems of late, pitched a 1-2-3 10th inning with two strikeouts. The Jays had a man on second with two outs in their half of the 10th but couldn’t cash in newly recalled Kevin Pillar.

Jose Bautista ended his 0-for-17 slump with a solo home run — his 25th homer of the season — to left centre off reliever Alex Wilson to open the Toronto half of the seventh and tie the score at 4-4. The homer was just the Jays’ 11th of the month.

Encarnacion, whose ninth-inning double just missed flying over the fence on Monday night, flied out to the left-field warning track later in the seventh inning after Bautista’s long ball.

For the second night in a row, Toronto fought back from a 3-0 deficit although this time they didn’t wait until the ninth inning.

And for the second night in a row, Boston’s Yoenis Cespedes singled in a run to make it 4-3 although he did it in the seventh inning instead of the 10th. The Cuban outfielder, with his 87th RBI, chased Toronto reliever Dustin McGowan after just one out.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who had won all three previous starts against Boston this season, went up against Boston’s Rubby (pronounced Ruby) De La Rosa, who lost his two previous starts against the Jays this season.

The two starters were operating in vastly different neighbourhoods with De La Rosa’s fastball reaching 97 m.p.h. while Dickey throwing mostly in the 70s. That was good news for Red Sox DH Napoli, who was hit on the head with a 77 m.p.h. knuckleball that sent his helmet flying.

It was a rocky start for Dickey who saw Pedroia deposit his eighth delivery of the night into the second deck in left field for a two-run homer. Dickey struck out leadoff hitter Holt but catcher Josh Thole could not handle the ball and Holt made it to first base on the passed ball.

Pedroia’s seventh homer of the season marked the seventh straight game the opposition has scored first against the Jays.

There was more to come in the first. Middlebrook’s two-out RBI double made it 3-0 and it could have been worse had Craig not been thrown out at home trying to score from first.

Dickey threw 28 pitches in the first.

Toronto left men on first and third in the first inning after opening with back-to-back Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera singles.

With men on second and third and no outs, Cabrera’s groundout put Toronto on the board in the third inning while earning the left-fielder his 70th RBI of the season. But two fly balls ended the threat.

Munenori Kawasaki narrowed the deficit to 3-2 with a two-out RBI single in the fourth inning as De La Rosa struggled with his control, issuing back-to-back walks with one out. Still Toronto stranded men on first and third again in the inning.

Toronto tied it in the fifth with Cabrera scoring on Encarnacion’s fielder’s choice with two out, signalling the end of De La Rosa. The inning was kept alive by a fielding miscue but Toronto managed to once again leave runners on the corners.

De La Rosa went 4 2/3 innings, living dangerously most of the way. He gave up three runs on seven hits with a pair of walks, throwing 99 pitches including 61 strikes.

Dickey went six innings, settling down after a bumpy beginning. He conceded three runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He threw 107 pitches, 67 for strikes

The Jays started Pillar in centre field in place of Colby Rasmus, said to be under the weather. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, hit by pitches on the elbow and foot on the weekend, was given the night off for the second day in a row.

Despite daytime temperatures hovering near 30 degrees Celsius (with Humidex values near 40) and a severe thunderstorm watch, the Rogers Centre roof was open — with the south panel closed to start the game.



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