Offense Bails Out Beckett as Red Sox Sneak By Blue Jays

Offense Bails Out Beckett as Red Sox Sneak By Blue Jays Josh Beckett didn’t have his best stuff of the season, but fortunately for him and the Red Sox, the offense did.

The ace was unable to become baseball’s first 15-game winner after he allowed seven runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings at the Rogers Centre. The long ball was a problem for Beckett, who coughed up a season-high three homers in the no-decision. The big righty hadn’t allowed three homers in a regular-season game since May of 2006.

Following Beckett to the mound were relievers Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima (who picked up the win), who combined for 1 2/3 innings of hitless shutout baseball. Daniel Bard came on in the eighth and allowed a pair of runs before closer Jonathan Papelbon was called in to get the final four outs of the game. Paps struggled in his outing, allowing two hits and three walks before finally shutting the door on the Jays for his 29th save.

Everyone on the Red Sox offense was able to get in on the action as each starter had at least one hit. David Ortiz drove the bat bus with three RBIs — thanks to a two-run double and a solo homer — while Jason Bay smacked his 26th homer of the season and fourth in 10 games against Toronto this summer. Nick Green (who started at second base for Dustin Pedroia who was with his wife as she delivered the couple's first child) scored a pair of runs while leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury drove in three. 

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 9
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 18, 2009

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Headliner: His big bat wasn’t originally scheduled to be in the starting lineup against Jays lefty Ricky Romero, but it’s a good thing that David Ortiz was a late addition to Terry Francona’s offense. Big Papi smacked a two-RBI double in the second before launching his 18th homer of the season in the fourth — a solo shot to put the Sox up 5-2.

The homer was Papi’s third in his last four games and his 64th career dinger in the month of August, the most homer-friendly month of his 13-year career. Ortiz, who was hitting in the seventh slot, finished 2-for-3 with three runs, three RBIs and two walks in the 10-9 win.

Dirt dog: Jacoby Ellsbury notched a pair of sacrifice flies en route to his 2-for-3, three-RBI evening in Toronto. It was the leadoff hitter's second three-RBI game of the season.

Better luck next time: Toronto rookie hurler Ricky Romero went just 3 2/3 innings in his 20th career MLB start before getting the hook from manager Cito Gaston with two on and two outs in the top of the fourth. Romero allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits in the shortest outing of his young career. The 24-year-old southpaw, who is winless now in his last three starts, struck out just two batters while walking three.

In his last two starts, he’s allowed nine runs and six walks on 12 hits in 9 2/3 combined innings pitched. Romero has struggled mightily in all three contests against the Boston bats in his first big league season. In his July 17 loss to the Sox, he allowed four earned runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings. In his May 31 loss to Boston, he allowed five earned over four innings while walking five and allowing two homers.

Key moment: With things tied up at seven with two on and no one out in the Red Sox eighth, Alex Gonzalez dropped a sacrifice bunt. Blue Jays pitcher Casey Janssen rushed the throw to first and threw it away allowing Ortiz to come around from second to put the Sox up 8-7. That error would open things up for the Red Sox who would score twice more in the frame to pull out to a 10-7 advantage.

On deck: Boston faces Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay in the middle match of the three-game tilt. The Sox will counter with youngster Clay Buchholz, who is in search of just his second win of the season.

Buchholz earned his first and only victory of the season in July when he was called up to face these Blue Jays in the first game back from the All-Star break. Buchholz went 5 2/3 innings and allowed just one earned run on four hits in Boston’s 4-1 win back on July 17 at the Rogers Centre. Since that win, Buchholz has gone 0-3 with a pair of no-decisions but has pitched strong in his last two starts, allowing just three total earned runs in 13 innings.

Halladay has gone 2-2 in his last five home starts but stands at 13-5 on the season with a 2.65 ERA. The tall righty has been hot as of late, going eight innings in each of his last two starts (both wins) and nine innings in a complete game loss against the Yankees three starts ago. In 35 career starts against the Sox, Halladay is 13-12 with a 4.33 ERA, but he has topped the Sox in three of his last four starts against the Boston ballclub, including a 3-1 complete-game victory earlier this season when he allowed one run on six hits back in July.

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