Final, Blue Jays 4-2: The Red Sox can’t win ‘em all.
Casey Janssen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out a 4-2 victory for the Blue Jays. The two teams will play a rubber match on Sunday.
Clay Buchholz went six innings and suffered his first loss of 2013. His record now sits at 11-1.
Buchholz gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits in six innings of work. He struck out two, walked two and threw 106 pitches (64 strikes). The right-hander actually pitched better than the box score indicates, but some subpar defense in the fourth inning opened the door for three Toronto runs.
Felix Doubront will take the ball Sunday. He’ll got up against R.A. Dickey in the Red Sox’ final regular season home game of 2013. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
Mid 9th, Blue Jays 4-2: The Blue Jays now have a two-run cushion.
Rajai Davis led off with a walk and moved up into scoring position when Anthony Gose successfully dropped down a sacrifice bunt.
J.P. Arencibia plated Davis with a wall-ball single to left field. Arencibia snapped an 0-for-27 stretch with the RBI knock.
Matt Thornton retired Ryan Goins on a ground ball back to the mound before walking Jose Reyes. That ended Thornton’s night, as John Farrell turned to Rubby De La Rosa.
De La Rosa retired Mark DeRosa to end the inning.
10:01 p.m., Blue Jays 3-2: Want to predict what is going to happen next? The MLB PrePlay app allows you to predict every play of every game. By correctly selecting the outcome of every at-bat in real time, you’re able to earn points.
End 8th, Blue Jays 3-2: Sergio Santos breezed through the eighth inning, which means that the Red Sox will need some ninth-inning magic.
Stephen Drew lifted a high fly ball to left field to lead off the bottom of the eighth. The crowd erupted, but Moises Sierra camped under it to make the grab.
Shane Victorino struck out swinging and David Ortiz grounded to the right side to end the inning.
Matt Thornton will come on to pitch the ninth inning for Boston. Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks are due up in the bottom of the ninth.
Mid 8th, Blue Jays 3-2: Dustin Pedroia was in the middle of the action in his first defensive inning.
Munenori Kawasaki hit a ball with one out that deflected off Ryan Dempster and over toward second base. Pedroia made the play and tossed to first to record the out, but the Blue Jays were not happy with the call. Kawasaki slammed his helmet and was ejected, while Toronto manager John Gibbons came out to argue for the second time in this game.
Brett Lawrie singled after the controversial play, and Adam Lind walked with two down. Dempster escaped the jam by getting Moises Sierra to chase a slider out of the zone.
Dempster walked a tightrope and survived. In other words, it was what many probably expected from the right-hander’s first relief appearance since 2007.
End 7th, Blue Jays 3-2: The Red Sox made it two straight innings with a run in the seventh.
Dustin McGowan took over after six innings from Mark Buehrle. He appeared to be on his way to a smooth inning, but Xander Bogaerts’ ground ball to third base ate up Brett Lawrie. The rookie was able to hustle his way into second base with one out as the ball traveled into left field.
Bogaerts moved up to third base when McGowan unleashed a wild pitch, and he scored when David Ross grounded to short for the second out of the inning.
John Farrell said before the game that Dustin Pedroia wouldn’t know what to do with himself on his day off. That apparently was the case, as Pedroia pinch hit for John McDonald in the seventh. Pedey struck out to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster will be the new Red Sox pitcher in the eighth inning. It marks Dempster’s first relief appearance since shifting to the bullpen. In fact, it’s his first relief appearance since 2007.
Mid 7th, Blue Jays 3-1: David Ross is putting on a clinic behind the plate.
Ross nailed another would-be base stealer in the seventh inning. He’s now thrown out three potential thieves in this game.
Ross threw out Anthony Gose in the seventh inning. Gose led off the inning with an infield single, and he was thrown out for the second out after J.P. Arencibia flied to right field.
Ryan Goins struck out to end the scoreless inning for Drake Britton, who took over after six frames from Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits over six innings. He struck out two, walked two and threw 106 pitches (64 strikes). All of Toronto’s runs came in the fourth inning, which Buchholz nearly worked through rather easily before things spiraled out of control.
Buchholz, who entered the game with an 11-0 record, is on the hook for his first loss of 2013.
End 6th, Blue Jays 3-1: The Red Sox finally got to Mark Buehrle for a run in the sixth inning. They left two runners out there, though.
Stephen Drew started the inning with a single into center field. Drew now has two hits out of the leadoff spot for Boston.
Shane Victorino then got hit by a pitch for the 18th time this season, and the Blue Jays weren’t happy about it. Both catcher J.P. Arencibia and Toronto manager John Gibbons thought that Victorino leaned into it. They may be right, but in any event, it led to a first-and-second situation for Boston.
Jonny Gomes put the Red Sox on the scoreboard with one out in the sixth. He yanked a hard ground ball past a diving Brett Lawrie at third base. The ball kicked off the wall in foul territory and bounced back toward left field. Drew scored easily as Victorino took third base and Gomes reached safely at first base.
The Red Sox couldn’t do any more damage, though. Daniel Nava grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and the threat.
Following the sixth inning, Buehrle now has 200 1/3 innings pitched this season. It’s the 13th consecutive season that he’s reached the 200-innings mark. Impressive.
Mid 6th, Blue Jays 3-0: David Ross has now thrown out two would-be base stealers in this game.
Rajai Davis walked with two outs in the sixth inning. That’s usually a scary sight, particularly for the Red Sox, who have been victimized on the bases by Davis time and time again this season. The Red Sox used a perfectly timed pitchout in this instance, though, and Davis was gunned down to end the inning.
Adam Lind flied out and Moises Sierra grounded out prior to Davis’ caught stealing.
End 5th, Blue Jays 3-0: Mark Buehrle has really minimized the Red Sox’ chances through five innings.
David Ross connected on a two-out single in the fifth inning. It marked Boston’s third hit of the night, and again, nothing came of it.
Buehlre retired Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts to begin the fifth inning. Both hitters tested Jose Reyes, and the Blue Jays shortstop was up to their challenges.
The inning ended with John McDonald hitting a little popup in front of the plate. Buehrle, who fields his position very well, charged in while J.P. Arencibia raced out from behind the plate. Arencibia made the play as Buehrle slid to his knees to avoid the Toronto catcher.
Mid 5th, Blue Jays 3-0: It wasn’t the easiest inning for Clay Buchholz, but he kept the Blue Jays scoreless.
Ryan Goins singled into left field and Jose Reyes walked to make it first and second with one out.
Munenori Kawasaki then hit a comebacker that Buchholz handled. The right-hander turned and fired to second base for the forceout there, but Stephen Drew had no chance to turn a double play.
Brett Lawrie stepped up with runners at the corners and two outs. He grounded to Will Middlebrooks at first base, and Middlebrooks flipped to Buchholz to complete the out.
End 4th, Blue Jays 3-0: Shane Victorino led off with a single, but Mark Buehrle once again took care of business.
Victorino’s leadoff single broke up a string of nine in a row retired by Buehrle. The left-hander had no problem working through it, though, as he retired the next three hitters in order.
David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes struck out for the first two outs. Ortiz went down swinging and Gomes went down looking. Gomes has now struck out twice out of the cleanup spot in this game.
Daniel Nava ended the inning by grounding into a forceout.
Mid 4th, Blue Jays 3-0: It looked like Clay Buchholz was through another harmless inning. But a bang-bang play that went the Blue Jays’ way sent the inning into a tailspin.
Jose Reyes singled to lead off the fourth inning, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base. David Ross delivered a one-hopper to John McDonald.
McDonald has made a few nice plays in this game. He snagged a line drive off the bat of Munenori Kawasaki for the second out of the fourth inning.
Things got hairy for Boston when Brett Lawrie collected a two-out infield hit. Lawrie hit a ground ball to the left side, and Xander Bogaerts ranged over to grab it. There was a moment of hesitation, though, and Lawrie hustled his way to an infield single on a very close play at first base.
Adam Lind followed by sending a fly ball to deep center field. Shane Victorino raced back and appeared to have it sized up. The ball sailed over his glove, though, and Lawrie scored as Lind cruised into second base with a double.
Moises Sierra followed with a single to put runners at the corners, and Rajai Davis gave Toronto its second run with a blooper into left-center field.
Buchholz then fired an errant pickoff throw to first base with Anthony Gose batting, and Sierra scored from third base with Toronto’s third run. Two of the three runs charged to Buchholz are earned.
Talk about ugly.
End 3rd, 0-0: Both starters have rolled through the first three innings.
Mark Buehrle gave up a leadoff single in the first inning, but he’s now retired nine in a row after spinning a perfect third inning.
Buehrle struck out David Ross and John McDonald in the third. Stephen Drew, who was responsible for the first-inning single, lined out to center field.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Stephen Drew has been quite the defensive wizard of late.
Drew made a sensational play while ranging up the middle in Friday’s game. He just made another terrific stop in the third inning of this one.
J.P. Arencibia, whose terrible campaign continues, drilled a sharp ground ball to the shortstop side of second base with one out. Drew made a great diving stop and delivered a strong throw to first base to complete the out.
Will Middlebrooks also had his first chance down at first base in the third inning. Ryan Goins hit a chopper that Middlebrooks handled easily before taking it to the bag himself.
End 2nd, 0-0: The Red Sox went down in order against Mark Buehrle in the second inning.
Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks both flied out, and Xander Bogaerts grounded to short.
Buehrle has been working at his usual brisk pace thus far.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz induced three ground-ball outs in the second inning.
Adam Lind hit a rocket to the right side. John McDonald made a nice backhanded pickup in shallow right field — as the shift was on — before tossing to first base for the out.
After Moises Sierra grounded to short for the second out, Rajai Davis hit a grounder in front of the mound. Buchholz came off the hill to scoop it up and deliver a strong throw to Will Middlebrooks at first base.
End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox put a runner into scoring position with one out, but couldn’t capitalize.
Stephen Drew led off the bottom of the first inning with a single back up the middle. Shane Victorino promptly bunted him up to second base.
David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes couldn’t take advantage of the duck on the pond.
Ortiz flied out to center field, during which Drew advanced to third base, and Gomes struck out swinging to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz was sharp in the first inning.
Buchholz picked up two strikeouts in the opening frame while retiring the side in order.
Buchholz’s first strikeout victim was Jose Reyes. Reyes worked the count full as part of a seven-pitch battle, but Buchholz put him away with a fastball. (You might remember that Reyes put up a good battle against Jon Lester in the seventh inning of Friday’s game before striking out.)
Munenori Kawasaki popped out to second base for the second out. John McDonald, starting in place of Dustin Pedroia, put it away.
Buchholz capped the frame by striking out Brett Lawrie, who fanned to end Friday’s division-clincher for Boston.
7:13 p.m.: Clay Buchholz tosses a first-pitch strike. We’re off and running.
7:04 p.m.: The Westport, Conn., Little League team thrilled fans earlier this summer when it earned a second-place U.S. finish at the Little League World Series. On Saturday, the kids were honored on the field at Fenway Park.
6:59 p.m.: It’ll be interesting to see how Will Middlebrooks handles playing first base for the first time in his big league career.
There has long been speculation that Xander Bogaerts might someday move to third base. Many have thus wondered whether that could mean a shift across the diamond for Middlebrooks. While the possibility probably has nothing to do with Saturday’s decision, the move still represents a good test run.
John Farrell discussed Middlebrooks’ temporary move at length before the game. Be sure to check out his reasoning at the link below.
5:22 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury is making “steady progress,” according to John Farrell. The Red Sox skipper is hopeful that Ellsbury will return at some point during the Red Sox’ upcoming road trip. Baltimore seems like the best bet.
5:08 p.m.: John Farrell said that Dustin Pedroia’s off day has been planned for a while, even though the second baseman tried to argue his way into the starting lineup earlier in the day Saturday.
“His biggest thing is he doesn’t know what to do,” Farrell said. “He’s going to go stir crazy for nine innings. It may end up with him being back on the field because we want to get him the heck out of the dugout. He’ll create too much of an issue.”
Pedroia has played in 154 of Boston’s 155 games this season.
4:40 p.m.: Will Middlebrooks will shift across the diamond and see his first action at first base on Saturday.
John Farrell has the luxury of being able to try out some things over the final seven games, so why not give Middlebrooks a start at first base? Middlebrooks, who also saw his first action at second base earlier this season, has never played first base in his major league career, although Farrell said that the 25-year-old has worked out at first base recently.
Getting Middlebrooks into some game action down at first will allow Farrell to see if using him in such a capacity in the postseason is a possibility — say, if the Red Sox pinch run for Mike Napoli in a tight game.
Middlebrooks will bat sixth in a shuffled lineup Saturday. Stephen Drew will lead off for Boston, with Shane Victorino returning to the starting lineup and batting second.
Saturday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (94-61)
Stephen Drew, SS
Shane Victorino, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Jonny Gomes, LF
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
David Ross, C
John McDonald, 2B
Clay Buchholz, RHP (11-0, 1.51 ERA)
Blue Jays (70-83)
Jose Reyes, SS
Munenori Kawasaki, DH
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Adam Lind, 1B
Moises Sierra, LF
Rajai Davis, RF
Anthony Gose, CF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Ryan Goins, 2B
Mark Buehrle, LHP (11-9)
8 a.m. ET: The champagne has dried. The beers have been put away. And the field has been cleaned.
One day after clinching their first AL East crown since 2007, the Red Sox will head back to work. Now, it’s up to the Red Sox to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
Jon Lester went seven solid innings before handing the ball over to the Boston bullpen on Friday. Koji Uehara nailed down a five-out save to kick off a massive celebration at Fenway Park. The Red Sox obviously have their sights set on something even bigger this season, but their turnaround following last season’s debacle has been truly remarkable.
John Farrell will have some decisions to make over Boston’s final seven games. He’d certainly like to get some guys some rest, but he also understands that the Red Sox have been particularly tough to play against at Fenway Park this season, meaning home-field advantage is rather important.
Clay Buchholz will take the ball Saturday. He’s been impressive in his first two starts since coming off the disabled list, and he’ll look to continue that trend while battling Mark Buehrle.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and keep it right here.