Mike Lowell Home Run the Difference as Red Sox Outlast Blue Jays


Mike Lowell Home Run the Difference as Red Sox Outlast Blue Jays Postgame, Red Sox 7-5: Terry Francona summed this one up well when he said: "There were some ways to lose that game tonight." Indeed, when you're playing the Blue Jays and one swing of the bat can change everything, the margin for error is always slim.

But 3 1/3 innings of quality relief and a two-run rally in the eighth give the Red Sox the edge in the late innings. Coupled with New York's loss in Texas, Boston is now just five games back in the American League East.

The Sox remain 4 1/2 behind Tampa Bay in the wild card race. Toronto is 9 1/2 back of the Rays.

Clay Buchholz will try to maintain momentum, for himself and the team, when he opposes Shaun Marcum on Wednesday night. First pitch is 7:07 p.m.

Final, Red Sox 7-5: The Blue Jays get the tying run to the plate in the form of Jose Bautista, a scary sight for Red Sox fans. Jonathan Papelbon challenged him with heat and eventually won the battle, getting Bautista to ground to second. One out later a big win was in the books.

Mike Lowell is the offensive hero with a tie-breaking solo shot in the eight, as well as a sacrifice fly. Another admirable job by the bullpen, too.

We will wrap it all up for you in a bit and look for more on the site on the recent efforts of the relievers.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 7-5: Jonathan Papelbon is on in pursuit of his 29th save and second in as many days. He threw 22 pitches in his four-out save in New York on Monday.

End 8th, Red Sox 7-5: Manny Delcarmen has quietly been very efficient of late. After a perfect eight he has allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings since a rough outing at Seattle last month.

Terry Francona obviously wanted to stay away from Daniel Bard right there. Jonathan Papelbon should be available.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-5: The Blue Jays bring on Shawn Camp with one out in the eighth and the Red Sox jump all over him. Mike Lowell breaks the tie with his fourth home run of season and Jed Lowrie later drives in Ryan Kalish with a double to center.

Lowrie has two of Boston's five doubles, both of them driving in a run.

Kalish had hit for Bill Hall and lined a sharp single to center.

End 7th, 5-5: Jose Bautista hits his major league-leading 35th home run of the season and we have a brand new game. It was a fastball from Felix Doubront that Bautista crushed to left.

For those of you wondering if Doubront was going to be used mostly against lefties, he is not. That was never the intention. Sure, he might be brought in to face a lefty in a key situation like he was in the sixth, but Terry Francona had every intention of sending him back out for the seventh.

In his minor league career Doubront has held right-handed hitters to a .254 mark, compared to .284 for lefties.

Don't get tied into the fact that he came on to face two lefties with runners on in the sixth as any indication of future plans for him.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-4: Facing reliever Scott Downs, the man so linked to the Red Sox before the trading deadline, Boston gets the first man on. A fielder's choice and double play ends any thoughts of a threat.

Felix Doubront stays in the game for the Sox.

End 6th, Red Sox 5-4: Felix Doubront gets the job done not once but twice. A grounder to short fails to get the third out when the runner beats the throw to second, but Doubront strikes out Travis Snider on a breaking ball to leave the bases loaded.

Doubront pumped his fist after the K. For a pretty soft-spoken kid it was a nice show of emotion following a huge punchout.

9:17 p.m.: Felix Doubront will make his second relief appearance for the Red Sox but the first in a big situation. He takes over for Daisuke Matsuzaka with two outs in the sixth, runners on first and second and leadoff hitter Fred Lewis at the plate.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-4: The way the Red Sox swung the bat in the second inning of this one it figured to be a short night for Ricky Romero. He has admirably managed to keep his team in the game.

It's a bit scary playing Toronto because leads can vanish in an instant. A one-run lead in the sixth means little against a team that may have two more home runs in them.

End 5th, Red Sox 5-4: A Jed Lowrie error gets Daisuke Matsuzaka in some hot water but he wiggles out of the jam on a fly to left and a liner to Mike Lowell at first. The Blue Jays left runners at first and second.

Matszuaka has thrown 91 pitches.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-4: J.D. Drew's bat has been very quiet of late but he has a big home run in the fifth to break the tie. Drew had gone 14 games between homers and entered the at-bat 4-for-29 (.138) in August.

Not surprised that some of you are convinced that Jacoby Ellsbury was safe on that stolen base attempt in the fourth. The angle from the outfield was one of the worst. People always forget on angles such as that that the foot looks as if it hits the bag about two inches before it actually does because it disappears behind the bag as the player slides in.

On a play like that two inches means everything. I personally think it was a virtual tie, which goes to Ellsbury, but it was not definitive. Not from the angle everyone liked.

End 4th, 4-4: Daisuke Matsuzaka throws 33 pitches in the third and only five in the fourth. With Daniel Bard likely not available and Jonathan Papelbon coming off a four-out save the Red Sox need some innings here. A quick inning was imperative.

Matsuzaka has thrown 72 pitches overall.

Mid 4th, 4-4: Catcher J.P. Arencibia certainly impressed with his 4-for-5, two-homer debut for the Blue Jays over the weekend. He shows off his arm by nailing Jacoby Ellsbury trying to steal second.

Replays indicated that Ellsbury may have just got in before the tag, but it was close. In one shot he looked out, in another safe, but neither were definitive. Either way it was a nice throw from one knee by Arencibia.

Another hit for Ellsbury. Safe to say he is feeling a bit better.

End 3rd, 4-4: Just as we fire off a post about Ricky Romero falling behind hitters and paying the price, Daisuke Matsuzaka begins to throw the ball all over the place and, like Romero, gets hurt.

Matsuzaka walks the first two men of the inning and then throws ball one to Travis Snider before Snider turns one around for a three-run shot.

In typical Blue Jays fashion all four of their runs have come on home runs.

Adam Lind also doubled in the inning to improve to 3-for-3 against Matsuzaka after starting off 0-for-19 against the Red Sox righty.

Less than half of Matsuzaka's 33 pitches in the third were for strikes.

Good to see Jacoby Ellsbury flying into the gap to nab one of the three outs.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: Mike Lowell has five RBIs in six-plus games since returning to lineup after he lofts a sacrifice fly to left with the bases loaded.

The Red Sox have six hits. Ricky Romero was 1-0 or 2-0 on five of those batters. Against Victor Martinez in the third he was 3-1.

A lot of guys in the Boston lineup that can hurt you if you get behind.

End 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: Adam Lind was hitless in his first 19 at-bats against Daisuke Matsuzaka, striking out eight times. Since then he is 2-for-2 with a single and a home run. It's an impossible game to predict at times.

Lind singled in his last at-bat against Dice-K before the All-Star break and takes the righty deep to left with one down in the second.

Matsuzaka left a few other pithces up in the inning. Aaron Hill led it off with a drive nearly to the track in center and Lyle Overbay had a hard double down the line in right.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: David Ortiz is now 7-for-14 against Ricky Romero with a leadoff double in the second. Adrian Beltre is 3-for-4 after a double of his own scores the first run. Jed Lowrie, the one Red Sox starter never to face Romero, rips an RBI double in their first encounter. And Jacoby Ellsbury is 4-for-10 vs. the lefty with a run-scoring single. The Red Sox just hammer this guy.

Ellsbury's hit was a sharp single to center and the best contact by far that he has made since returning. Lowrie may have been out at home on the play but the throw from center hit the mound.

End 1st, 0-0: Daisuke Matsuzaka threw two curveballs and the rest of his 14 first-inning pitches were fastballs or cut fastballs. He is aggressive early and it pays off with three straight strikeouts to start things off.

It's extremely early to mention this but what the heck — Matsuzaka's career high in strikeouts is 10. He accomplished that three times but not once in the last three years.

Mid 1st, 0-0: In his previous start against the Red Sox, Ricky Romero had a 1-2-3 first. He has the same result to start this one of. However, if you're searching for a reason to feel good about Boston's chances, just look at what Romero did in his second and third innings in that previous meeting.

Romero gave up an RBI single to Mike Cameron and a two-run homer to Bill Hall in the second inning before getting just one out in a seven-run third.

He was finally lifted after a bases-loaded walk to Cameron, one of three he issues in the third inning alone.

7:07 p.m.: It is seven minutes past the hour, which means it's time to play baseball in Toronto. Anybody know why this is the one city where they don't play at 7:05 or 7:10? Please leave the answer below.

6:40 p.m.: Daisuke Matsuzaka has had plenty of success against the Blue Jays, as we have noted. He has been even better after getting knocked around a few times by Toronto when he first broke in.

In five starts over the past three years, Matsuzaka has a 2.16 ERA against the Jays.

Some are saying that Matsuzaka has been better of late due to his commitment to the fastball. While that's true, what makes him dangerous against Toronto is exactly what makes him tough to watch against some other teams.

The Jays are free swingers. By living off the plate a bit, often with off-speed stuff, Matsuzaka can get them to swing at bad pitches, often missing entirely or making bad contact. He causes some fans to pull their hair out when he walks the bases loaded and then goes 2-0 on the next batter. Toronto rarely draws walks so those situations just do not arise.

Also, Matsuzaka has a 0.6 home run/nine innings ratio, tied for the lowest of his career. He's the kind of guy that makes things difficult for the Jays.

5:42 p.m: Being in the Red Sox clubhouse Monday in New York it was clear that despite a split they felt pretty good about themselves. The way in which they took the finale surrounded the trip north with a positive vibe. The positivity is positively brimming with the latest on Dustin Pedroia.

Pedroia's big running test Tuesday in Toronto (breaks out of the box, hard sprints, etc.) revealed no issues and Terry Francona said there is a chance he begins a rehab assignment Saturday in Pawtucket.

The final steps toward making that a possibility are a running test again Wednesday and then a medical examination Friday back in Boston. The Sox open a nine-game homestand in a week. Expect Pedroia to be in the lineup and for this club to get a major boost.

Where the Red Sox will be in the standings at that time remains to be seen, but the last 24 hours or so have been very positive.

4:15 p.m.: The lineups are in from Toronto and the Red Sox have a similar look. Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off his four steals Monday in New York, remains at the bottom of the order.

Here is the full starting nine in support of Daisuke Matsuzaka, as well as Toronto's lineup:

Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mike Lowell, 1B
Bill Hall, LF
Jed Lowrie, 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

Fred Lewis, CF
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Aaron Hill, 2B
Adam Lind, DH
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Lyle Overbay, 1B
J.P. Arencibia, C
Travis Snider, LF

Back with pregame updates in a bit. Dustin Pedroia is expected to really give his foot a big test Tuesday so we should have more on his situation.

8 a.m.: After splitting a four-game series in New York, the Red Sox are still thinking about winning the American League East. But one of the teams suddenly nipping at their heels in the push for the wild card is the Toronto Blue Jays, who host Boston for three straight starting Tuesday night.

The sluggling Blue Jays remain in the wild-card picture after sweeping Tampa Bay at home over the weekend. Brandon Morrow's 17-strikeout, one-hit performance in Sunday's finale pulled Toronto within eight games of the Rays entering Monday's action.

The Red Sox, who turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka in the series opener, are four-and-a-half games behind Tampa Bay after defeating the Yankees 2-1 on Monday. Jon Lester threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings and the bullpen did the rest.

Ricky Romero, who was rocked by Boston in a start at home before the All-Star break, goes in the opener for the Jays.

First pitch is 7:07 p.m.

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