Red Sox 10 Blue Jays 9
TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays erased deficit after deficit on a rare productive night at the plate, only to watch it all get thrown away.
The shaky Boston Red Sox capitalized on Casey Janssen’s errant toss to score three times in the top of the eighth, then survived a big scare in bottom of the inning to steady themselves with a messy 10-9 victory Tuesday.
No lead was safe before a crowd of 25,472, with the pitchers having an especially miserable time on a steamy and sticky night.
“The whole offence did a good job getting us back in the game,” said Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero, who left his team in early 4-0 and 6-2 holes. “It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t do a good job on the mound today.”
That was particularly the case in the eighth with the game tied 7-7.
Janssen (2-4) opened the inning by walking David Ortiz and surrendering a single to Nick Green. Alex Gonzalez then laid down a poor sacrifice bunt right to the pitcher’s mound and Janssen would easily have had the lead runner at third but bobbled the ball after it took a strange bounce.
He compounded his misfortune by throwing the ball into right field, allowing Ortiz to score the go-ahead run and end Janssen’s night. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a sacrifice fly off Brian Tallet and Victor Martinez brought home more insurance with a double down the left-field line.
“If you stay under control and you have a throw that’s fine,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said of the bunt. “If you don’t then you have to eat it. I’d like to have seen him catch it (in the air), that probably would have been a triple play.”
That should have been lights out but the Blue Jays (55-62) nearly erased the lead in their half, with Adam Lind’s bases-loaded drive off Jonathan Papelbon caught on the track in left to end the threat after Marco Scutaro’s two-run single had made it a 10-9 contest.
Papelbon had two runners reach in the ninth before recording his 29th save, as the Red Sox (67-51), helped by solo shots from Jason Bay of Trail, B.C., and Ortiz, won for just the fifth time in their last 14 games. Hideki Okajima (4-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win.
Top prospect Travis Snider, recalled from triple-A Las Vegas earlier in the day, Rod Barajas and Randy Ruiz put on a seldom seen power show with homers for the Blue Jays, who nonetheless lost for the fifth time in six outings.
“If we can’t do anything else but get back over .500, that would be great,” said Gaston. “I’m talking to them all the time, play it out. Hopefully that’s the type of play you’re going to see the rest of the way.”
The Blue Jays trailed 4-0, 6-2 and 7-3 but continued to peck away at Josh Beckett until they tied it in the sixth on a two-run shot by Barajas. The Boston ace had looked to be certain to get his 15th win given the early offence but ended up with one of his worst outings of the season.
“I didn’t have much and they knew it,” said Beckett, who gave up seven runs in 5 1-3 innings. “They were attacking it. … I felt great, the stuff wasn’t there.”