Postgame, 5-4 Red Sox: Jed Lowrie couldn't keep the smile off his face down in the Red Sox' clubhouse. He said that his walk-off single in the '08 ALDS was a bit more exciting for him … but not by much.
Terry Francona was also in rather good spirits after that one. He said it was really important for Daisuke to get through the eighth, after the bullpen was forced into extra duty on Friday night, and he spotlighted Yamaico Navarro's throw to the plate that saved the team a run.
Regarding Lowrie, Francona said he'll continue to produce.
"Just gotta keep him healthy," Francona said.
That'll do it for this one. The Sox and Jays get back at it early on Sunday, so come back to NESN.com before, throughout and after the game for full coverage from the rubber match.
Final, 5-4 Red Sox: Jed Lowrie mashes his first career walk-off home run to lead off the 11th inning, ending a long but successful evening at the Fens.
Lowrie battled from behind against Casey Janssen, fouling off a pair of pitches while down 1-2. With the count even at 2-2, Lowrie teed off on a curveball, depositing it into the Red Sox' bullpen.
We'll have some reaction from Francona and the clubhouse shortly.
Middle 11th, 4-4: For a moment, the collective breath was sucked out of the crowd when Jed Lowrie dropped a popup with two outs. No matter, though, as Jonathan Papelbon got John Buck to strike out to end the inning.
Papelbon had already gotten Bautista and Wells to ground out to third. Now, Lowrie, Darnell McDonald and Scutaro have a chance to win it.
End 10th, 4-4: The Red Sox go down quietly in the 10th, and Jonathan Papelbon is on for the 11th. He'll face Bautista, Wells and Buck.
Middle 10th, 4-4: Maybe that was what that run prevention tag was all about.
Bard gave up an infield single on a tapper from Travis Snider, which was made worse by a throwing error from Bill Hall. With the go-ahead run on second and nobody out, Fred Lewis' grounder was snagged by Scutaro, who alertly fired to third. Snider was retired in a rundown. The next batter was Escobar, and he grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Two huge innings from Bard right there.
Casey Janssen is in for the Jays, and he's their sixth pitcher. Beltre, Kalish and Hall are due up.
End 9th, 4-4: Well, that ended quickly.
J.D. Drew worked a leadoff walk, which didn't prove to be too useful. Martinez popped up to short, and Ortiz grounded into a 3-6-1 double play on the first pitch he saw.
Red Sox will have to exhale and head to extras. Bard is back on the hill.
Middle 9th, 4-4: Daniel Bard makes it look easy, retiring the side in order. The stage is now set for a Red Sox walk-off win. Drew, Martinez and Ortiz are due up, with Beltre batting if any of them reaches base.
They'll be facing lefty Jesse Carlson.
End 8th, 4-4: That one hurts for the Red Sox, who can't bring the run home. However, if Bard can keep the Jays at bay, the Sox have their 2-3-4 hitters due up in the ninth.
They'll need Bard to shut down Aaron Hill, Overbay and John McDonald in the top of the ninth after Darnell McDonald lost an epic battle with Camp, striking out on the 10th pitch of his at-bat. Scutaro then grounded to short.
It was the fourth runner the Red Sox have left in scoring position.
Ryan Kalish, who ran for Lowell, is in the game in center field, with Darnell McDonald moving to left and Bill Hall moving to second base. Lowrie is at first base, and Lowell, Nava and Navarro are out of the game.
Bottom 8th, 4-4: Jed Lowrie hops off the bench, tosses on his double-flap helmet and draws a walk against Downs. Good patience there from a guy who's been chewing bubble gum all night long.
Out goes Downs, in comes Shawn Camp, as Darnell McDonald has a chance to be a hero with two on and one out in the eighth inning of a tie game.
Bottom 8th, 4-4: Jason Frasor does his job, but Yunel Escobar does not.
Mike Lowell hit a towering popup behind third base, and Escobar booted it near the stands, giving Lowell two free bases when he should have been out.
It doesn't immediately come back to bite the Jays, as Bill Hall couldn't get a sacrifice bunt down and eventually struck out.
Jed Lowrie is now pinch-hitting for Daniel Nava … who was pinch-hitting for Navarro. Scott Downs is in to replace Frasor. Remember, just a few weeks ago, Downs was supposed to be the prized jewel of the trading deadline, and he didn't end up going anywhere.
Middle 8th, 4-4: Give Daisuke credit. He coughed up the 4-1 lead in the sixth, but he was perfect thereafter.
At 100 pitches heading into the eighth, his leash was likely short, but that's all he needed. He got Bautista to tap out to second, Wells to fly out to center and Buck to go down swinging. If it were 2006, there's no question that shot from Wells would have made it over the wall, but alas, it is 2010.
In to pitch for the Blue Jays is Jason Frasor. Most people at Fenway aren't aware yet. They're all yelling "So good … "
End 7th, 4-4: I (and probably most of the folks at Fenway) though Cito Gaston was coming out of the dugout with two outs to remove his starter from the game, but I was wrong.
It paid off, too, as Romero was able to strike out Beltre with two on and two out to get out of the seventh.
Matsuzaka is back on the mound to begin the eighth.
Middle 7th, 4-4: If that was Daisuke Matsuzaka's last inning of the night, it was a good way to go out.
He struck out Travis Snider for the second time of the evening, then struck out Fred Lewis for the third time. Escobar ended the 11-pitch inning with a groundout to Scutaro.
Daniel Bard is starting to get loose out in the bullpen, as Matsuzaka is at the 100-pitch mark.
End 6th, 4-4: Another 1-2-3 inning, this one ended on a nice play from shortstop Yunel Escobar to steal a hit from Darnell McDonald.
The fourth inning ended earlier on a fancy play from third baseman John McDonald to likewise rob Navarro of a hit.
Daisuke, at 89 pitches, is back out there for the seventh.
Middle 6th, 4-4: When did Lyle Overbay become Barry Bonds?
After an intentional walk in the second and an old-fashioned free pass in the fourth, Overbay made his first official at-bat count as he mashed a 1-0 offering from Daisuke Matsuzaka deep over the right-field fence. The shot came after a John Buck sac fly earlier in the inning, so it knotted the score at four.
That's some lousy news, I suppose, but hey, a couple just got engaged on the big screen out in center. Hooray for young love.
End 5th, 4-1 Red Sox: It's like two different Red Sox teams are playing this evening. One of them gets retired in order in four or five pitches, the other scores multiple runs and forces the opposing pitcher to sweat.
The latter showed up in the fifth, forcing Romero to throw 30-plus pitches and scoring twice on RBI singles from Martinez and Beltre.
The one from Martinez was a thing of beauty, with Scutaro and Drew running with the pitch, he smacked one through the right side of the infield, scoring Scutaro and advancing Drew from first to third. Beltre's bloop was perfectly placed in shallow center, allowing Drew to score easily.
On the plus side for Romero, he struck out the side. So he's got that to hang his hat on.
Middle 5th, 2-1 Red Sox: That was Daisuke's most impressive inning yet. That's partly because he retired the side in order on seven pitches, but mostly because he did after about 40 seconds on the bench between innings.
Matsuzaka's at 70 pitches through five. Romero's at 54. Time for the Red Sox to see some pitches — when they have, they've done their damage.
End 4th, 2-1 Red Sox: Not a good inning there for the Sox, who let Romero throw just six pitches to get out of the inning.
The home crowd must have also missed who made that throw to the plate, because Navarro's at-bat introduction was met with about 12 claps around Fenway.
Middle 4th, 2-1 Red Sox: A liner over the head of Darnell McDonald scored one run, but thanks to an impressive throw from rookie Yamaico Navarro, that would be all.
With runners on first and second after back-to-back walks, John McDonald smoked a liner to the wall in left-center. Darnell McDonald got it in quickly to Navarro, who fired a one-hopper to Martinez. The catcher caught the ball and absorbed a hit from the 235-pound Lyle Overbay to end the inning.
With the assist, Darnell McDonald has now accounted for five of the 12 outs the Blue Jays have made, including all three outs in the fourth.
End 3rd, 2-0 Red Sox: Baseball 101: Don't walk the No. 9 hitter. It's especially crucial that you don't walk him on four pitches, as well.
That's what Romero did to Darnell McDonald, and it came back to bite him on Victor Martinez's bloop single that scored McDonald and Scutaro.
Scutaro's now 12-for-29 since Aug. 13, and just like he did Friday night, he poked a ball through the right side of the infield. Tim Bogar sent Scutaro on Martinez' single, testing the arm of Jose Bautista, but the throw sailed high over Buck's head and Scutaro slid in safely.
Romero's at 48 pitches through three innings, and both he and Daisuke have three strikeouts.
Middle 3rd, 0-0: Looking for a reason for some optimism? You can find it in Daisuke's 2-0 slider to Jose Bautista.
With Fred Lewis dancing off second (he stole the base and eventually stole third, too), Daisuke fired a perfect strike to the league-leader in homers. Daisuke fought back to fill the count and induce a fly ball to center to end the inning.
Daisuke is at 43 pitches through three.
End 2nd, 0-0: Well, that looked easy.
Despite an error from Yunel Escobar, Romero needs just four pitches to retire the side in the second. Mike Lowell lined out to third and Bill Hall grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Somebody get Elias on the phone to ask the last time a pitcher needed just four pitches to get out of an inning after an error allowed the leadoff runner to reach.
Middle 2nd, 0-0: John Buck has Daisuke's number, as his double off the Monster makes him 5-for-8 in his career against the righty.
It went for naught, however, as Matsuzaka worked out of trouble (he threw three balls to Lyle Overbay before intentionally throwing ball four) to get out of the jam.
End 1st, 0-0: Marco Scutaro improves to .392 since Aug. 13, but he's left at first base. Drew and Ortiz struck out, and Victor Martinez sent a deep drive to the warning track in center field. Romero didn't show the greatest control, so some patience may do the Sox some good.
Middle 1st, 0-0: Daisuke comes out firing, retiring the side in order on just 10 pitches. Included in that sequence was a four-pitch strikeout of Fred Lewis and Yamaico Navarro easily handling a grounder.
Considering the Jays scored five in the first frame on Friday, this was an overwhelming success.
Top 1st, 0-0: We're under way, and Daisuke's first pitch to Fred Lewis is a strike. It's already a better start than Friday night.
7:05 p.m.: With no disrespect to the lovely women who sand the Canadian national anthem, I'll take Rene Rancourt any day of the week.
In more pressing news, we're just minutes away from first pitch.
6:58 p.m.: It was just announced over the PA system that it's Vermont Night … which begs the question: Where is the free Ben and Jerry's? I'm waiting.
6:39 p.m.: Those standings out on the Green Monster are looking scarier, with the Yankees already winning earlier in the day. The Rays will get under way out in Oakland at 9 p.m.
As it stands now, the Sox trail New York by six games and trail the Rays by five-and-a-half.
6:04 p.m.: A fan privileged enough to spend batting practice on the infield is wearing a Terry Francona jersey T-shirt. It is perhaps the only No. 47 jersey T-shirt in existence.
The fan was able to catch Francona's attention, and the skipper signed the shirt. That's probably not an everyday occurrence for Francona.
6 p.m.: We know the Red Sox have some impressive numbers against Ricky Romero, and as it turns out, Daisuke's numbers against the Jays aren't too shabby either.
Aside from Yunel Escobar and John Buck (combined 6-for-13), Matsuzaka has held the Blue Jays to a .171 average (25-for-146). Cleanup hitter Vernon Wells has struggled mightily, batting .192 in 27 ABs.
5:50 p.m.: It's not exactly a beautiful evening at the ballpark, as there's some lingering cloudiness and it might get a bit chilly as the night wears on.
4:32: Yamaico Navarro came up through the system as a shortstop, but he'll be at second base on Saturday night. Defense aside, Terry Francona said he's hoping Navarro "can run into a ball or two."
Francona also took some time to answer a question from an out-of-town reporter who asked about how hard it is to stick with Jonathan Papelbon through the ups and downs.
"He has 30 saves," Francona said with an incredulous tone. "It's very easy not to lose confidence. He's one of the best in the game. I would be a horrible manager if every time he gave up a run, we put him in the penalty box. I wouldn't be doing my job very well. That's an easy question."
Well, alright then.
The manager also offered updates on Jason Varitek, Jarrod Saltalamacchi and Carlos Delgado, who is on the seven-day disabled list in Triple-A. Delgado is suffering from soreness in his side — but not the same side of his surgically repaired hip.
4:15 p.m.: It was quiet down in the clubhouse, where Daniel Bard, Scott Atchison, Michael Bowden and Felix Doubront were admiring the work of Mariano Rivera on the television.
3:31 p.m.: Bad news from New York, as the Yankees have taken a 7-3 lead over the Mariners after scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh.
12:09 p.m.: Losing by two touchdowns is tough to stomach in football, so when it happens in baseball, it's obviously pretty crushing.
Fortunately, it only counts as one loss in the standings, and with New York and Tampa both losing on Friday night, Red Sox Nation can just pretend that 16-2 beatdown never happened.
8 a.m.: The Red Sox will look to pick themselves off the mat following their worst home loss of the season when they continue a series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night.
Jon Lester was rocked in the shortest start of his career in Friday's 16-2 loss to the Blue Jays, the second straight setback for a team that needs a win in the worst way.
To get that victory and avoid a three-game losing streak the Red Sox turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA against Toronto this year. The Blue Jays, just three games behind Boston in the loss column, give the ball to lefty Ricky Romero. He is 1-4 with an 8.51 ERA in his career vs. the Sox.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.