Final, Blue Jays 4-3: Clay Buchholz pitched a strong game for the Red Sox when they needed it most. He went 8 2/3 innings and set down 13 Blue Jays in a row. Unfortunately, he's saddled with the loss after giving up Toronto's go-ahead run on his 121st pitch of the game. Manager Bobby Valentine visited the mound in the ninth with Buchholz's pitch count at 113, but Buchholz remained in the game to give up the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen took the mound and closed down the Red Sox. Cody Ross just missed a walk-off home run with a laser just to the left of the Green Monster. Ross was then caught looking on a 3-2 count, on a pitch that looked like a ball on the Amica Pitch Zone. A fly-out by Jacoby Ellsbury and a pop-out by Mike Aviles ended the game for Boston.
The Red Sox are back in action at Fenway on Tuesday night against the New York Yankees. The Yankees are barely hanging on to their AL East lead over the upstart Baltimore Orioles. Will the Red Sox spoil the Yankees' title hopes? Tune into NESN on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern to find out.
Mid 9th, Blue Jays 4-3: Clay Buchholz comes back out for the ninth inning, but he gives up the lead at a pitch count of 121 pitches. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine went to the mound when Buchholz had a pitch count of 113, but Buchholz kept the baseball and kept pitching.
Jerry Remy noted that Buchholz's off-speed pitches had been the key to his success today. Those pitches started to lose their effectiveness around Buchholz's 110-pitch mark, however, and the Blue Jays landed men on first and third with one out. A steal by Toronto's Anthony Gose led to an intentional walk to pitch hitter Kelly Johnson. Omar Vizquel then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Rajai Davis for the Blue Jays. Valentine then lifted Buchholz for Junichi Tazawa, who recorded the final out of the inning.
End 8th, 3-3: The Red Sox go down in order in their half of the eighth inning. Daniel Nava enters the game as a pinch-hitter for Ryan Kalish, who looked uncomfortable at the plate in his earlier appearances today. Nava grounds out to shortstop, but it's good to see him back at Fenway regardless.
Mid 8th, 3-3: Clay Buchholz stays strong through the eighth inning, taking out the top of the Blue Jays lineup in order. This type of outing is just what the Red Sox needed from Buchholz today, and he's done it while keeping a low pitch count.
Buchholz has now retired 12 consecutive Blue Jays. At 100 pitches, does Buchholz come out again for the ninth inning?
The Red Sox have the top of their order coming up to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning.
End 7th, 3-3: Steve Delabar comes on in relief of Carlos Villanueva for the Blue Jays. Delabar sets down the side in order. Brett Lawrie will lead off the eighth inning for Toronto.
Jerry Remy stated that he's changed his vote for the 10th Player Award after reflection on his Saturday night drive home. Join Jerry's reflection by voting for the 10th Player Award, and you'll be entered to win a $5,000 home entertainment system from Paul's TV.
Mid 7th, 3-3: Clay Buchholz is in the groove. After another 1-2-3 inning, Buchholz has set down nine consecutive Blue Jays batters. With a low pitch count of 87 pitches thrown, Buchholz keeps the Red Sox bullpen rested heading into the late innings at Fenway.
End 6th, 3-3: Dustin Pedroia hits a home run into the Green Monster seats to tie the game at 3-3. Cody Ross hits a two-out double, but Jacoby Ellsbury grounds out to end the inning.
In other news, the bunt madness continues at Fenway Park, as Scott Podsednik flies out on a bunt to Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind.
Mid 6th, Blue Jays 3-2: Clay Buchholz pitches another 1-2-3 inning for the Sox. Buchholz has now retired six Blue Jays in a row. He's also thrown only 76 pitches through six innings, which must come as a relief to an exhausted Red Sox bullpen.
Jenny Dell will have a report in the bottom of the sixth inning.
End 5th, Blue Jays 3-2: Jerry Remy called today "Bunt Day" at Fenway Park, and Pedro Ciriaco lives up to the name with an attempted bunt-type thing. The bunt-type effort fails to work, and Ciriaco is put out easily at first base. Ryan Kalish walks with two outs, but is picked off by Jeff Mathis to end the inning.
Mid 5th, Blue Jays 3-2: Clay Buchholz sets the Blue Jays down in order for the first time today. Yale's own Ryan Lavarnway is up first for the Sox in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Andrew Bailey spoke with Jenny Dell and wished Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy a speedy recovery. McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive during his September 5 start against the Los Angeles Angels.
End 4th, Blue Jays 3-2: Cody Ross leads off with a single to left, but the Sox then go down quietly on a pop-out and double play.
Jenny Dell is on in the fifth inning with a interview of Andrew Bailey.
Mid 4th, Blue Jays 3-2: Toronto gets a run back after an RBI single by catcher Jeff Mathis, then ties the game on a sacrifice fly by the veteran of all veterans, Omar Vizquel. Mathis lumbers in for a run on an odd decision to cut off the throw to home, as it sure looked like the throw would have reached Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway well ahead of Mathis.
2:38 p.m.: In other sporting news, the Patriots are flat-out destroying the Titans, leading 21-3 at halftime. The replacement officials helped the Pats' effort with a missed no-call on the Titans' first drive. Tom Brady followed by being Tom Brady, leading the Pats to the lead with two touchdown passes.
End 3nd, Red Sox 2-0: Dustin Pedroia guts out an infield single with two outs, but he's forced out at second base during James Loney's at-bat. Ryan Kalish looked mighty uncomfortable in his at-bat, and with Daniel Nava's activation from the DL, might we see Nava later today?
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz gets through three scoreless innings after Adeiny Hechavarria lines out to end the inning. The barrage of bunts continues in the inning as the Jays play smallball, but to no avail.
Jenny Dell reports that Jon Lester will host a baseball clinic on Monday's off day with patients at Boston Children's Hospital.
End 2nd, Red Sox 2-0: The Red Sox have the lead! Jacoby Ellsbury makes the most of batting sixth, hitting a two-run home run and scoring Cody Ross. It's his first home run since August 27th.
Jenny Dell will be on in the top of the third with news about Jon Lester.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Buchholz gives up a walk to Blue Jays left fielder Rajai Davis, but makes up for it with a quick strikeout of Jeff Mathis. Two quick outs later and the Blue Jays are quieted for another half-inning. James Loney is up first for the Sox in the bottom half of the second inning.
End 1st, 0-0: Ryan Kalish gets the leadoff spot after Jacoby Ellsbury is dropped to sixth in the order, and Kalish delivers with a single. It's all moot for the Sox, though. Toronto's Brett Lawrie tags Kalish out on a run to third base, then throws out Dustin Pedroia for the double play.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Buchholz gives up a walk to Edwin Encarnacion, but otherwise emerges unscathed in the top of the first.
1:30 p.m.: It's first pitch at Fenway Park. Boston's Clay Buchholz is facing off against Toronto's Carlos Villanueva. Tune to NESN now to follow today's game.
1:22 p.m.: Daniel Nava is back with the Red Sox after a stint on the disabled list. The Red Sox outfielder had been on the DL since August 25 with a left wrist sprain.
1:12 p.m.: Just a short 1,100 miles from Fenway Park, the New England Patriots face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville for the NFL season opener. NESN's Patriots live blog is your source for Pats-Titans news and analysis.
12:58 p.m.: There is a celebration at Fenway Park today, as Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks celebrates his birthday. The fan favorite turns 24 today.
12:35 p.m.: The Red Sox win a playoff series against the Yankees! Yes, this was a Triple-A matchup of the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, but a win's a win.
The PawSox won the five-game International League semifinal round 3-1 over the Yankees, who played the entire 2012 season on the road while their home stadium underwent renovations.
10:35 a.m.: We have your lineups for today:
Ryan Kalish, RF
Scott Podsednik, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
James Loney, 1B
Cody Ross, DH
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Mike Aviles, SS
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Clay Buchholz, P
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Adam Lind, 1B
Rajai Davis, LF
Anthony Gose, RF
Jeff Mathis, C
Omar Vizquel, 2B
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
Carlos Villanueva, P
8 a.m. ET: Clay Buchholz has had quite the year. He started the season with a horrible slide, giving up five earned runs or more in each of his first six starts while still managing to win three games. Then he went on a tear, stepping up as Boston's best pitcher as the rest of the team floundered. In recent days, he's been a bit uneven but still good, patching together several strong performances while absorbing losses due to the Red Sox' dreary offense.
Overall, though, Buchholz has had a decent year, and he can put the finishing touches on it with a strong conclusion to the season starting Sunday against the Blue Jays. Buchholz (11-5, 4.47 ERA) has faced Toronto just once this season, and the Red Sox (63-77) would love something similar to that eight-inning, two-earned-run outing to get them back in the win column in a definitive way.
Starting for the Jays will be right-hander Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.42), who was motoring along fine this summer until he gave up six earned runs against Baltimore on Tuesday. Villanueva has pitched both in a starting role and in relief for Toronto (63-75), and he beat Boston in his only start against the Sox this season, on July 21 (6 1/3 innings pitched, three earned runs allowed).
First pitch will be fired at just about 1:35 p.m., but flip to NESN around noon for the Ultimate Red Sox Show and your pregame action. We'll be giving you some more updates here as the game goes on.