Reed and weep
Johnson's walkoff HR makes it unhappy ending for Sox
TORONTO -- For Mike Timlin, the scoreless streak was 15 2/3 innings, for Alan Embree 7 1/3 innings. And yet, in two Reed Johnson swings that sent baseballs soaring a combined 793 feet into the deep blue seats, those unblemished stretches ended, and so did last night's game.
Timlin, in relief of David Wells, allowed a two-run homer in the seventh, and Embree, who entered to begin the ninth with the score tied, gave up a 403-foot, no-doubt homer to center that sent the Blue Jays to a 9-6 walkoff win before an enlivened 34,280 at the Rogers Centre.
''Those two had -- and when I said 'had' I don't think that stretch is over -- had been unbelievable," said Sox manager Terry Francona. ''Reed Johnson, he hurt us, he hurt us a lot."
Johnson, realize, is no David Ortiz. He began the night with an average of one homer every 49 at-bats in his career, he had only one previous two-homer game, and he had homered just once in 85 at-bats this season. Of all the people in the park, he might have been the least convinced of the outcome of his last swing, even as Johnny Damon turned to watch the ball clear the fence.
''Right when I hit, it I thought, 'Oh man, I got that ball good but that's the wrong part of the park for me because I'm not much of a home run hitter,' " Johnson said. ''Any time to leave the park to center field is kind of a tough task for me."
Johnson had been a combined 1 for 13 vs. Embree (0 for 2) and Timlin (1 for 10).
''I got a good fastball to hit," Johnson said of Timlin's offering. ''Same with Embree, a good fastball over the plate. It's something you just dream about. There's
Renteria says he's comfortable playing in Boston. Cafardo, F5.
no better feeling than hitting a walkoff home run. I don't hit many as it is."
Embree suffered the loss -- he's given up two walkoff shots this season, the other April 22 to Tampa Bay's Eduardo Perez -- but David Wells thought the lefthander warranted better.
''If the L should have been anywhere, it should have been in my column," said Wells, who was touched for five runs on seven hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings. ''You get a lead like that and you blow it . . . I feel bad for the other guys."
Wells had leads of 3-0 (after three innings) and 5-4 (in the seventh). But Toronto hit for the cycle in the fourth, when Wells gave up four runs on four hits, turning a 3-0 lead into a 4-3 deficit.
Toronto third baseman Aaron Hill (two-run triple) and catcher Gregg Zaun (two-run homer) provided the damaging hits. Zaun, who hadn't played since May 8 because of a concussion, sat on an 0-and-2 curveball that Wells said he intended ''to bounce." The ball didn't obey that command until it clanged off a plastic seat beyond the Jays' bullpen.
Bill Mueller reclaimed the lead for the Sox, 5-4, with a two-run homer to center in the seventh. Wells, though, allowed a one-out single to the No. 9 hitter, John McDonald, in the seventh, and that was it for him. Timlin entered, and on his third pitch Johnson exited the building, reclaiming Toronto's lead, 6-5.
''You don't want to come out of a ballgame like that," said Wells, who has allowed 11 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings vs. Toronto this season. ''I'd rather try to pitch my way out of it. I don't make the call. It's not a bad move. Tito's going to a guy who's been pitching great. Who would have thought?"
Wells, who turned 42 last Friday, continued for a few candid moments.
''I have to be better," said Wells, who has allowed 12 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings since coming off the disabled list, causing his ERA to further swell to 6.81 with a 2-4 record and 52 hits allowed in 37 innings. ''I keep pitching like that, I don't expect to be around, to be honest with you.
''Going out there and giving up five runs a game. For me, going out there, it's getting more and more discouraging. I keep battling. I'm not going to give up. Eventually, it's got to turn around. If it doesn't I don't expect to be here if I keep pitching like I am.
''My head's not down. I'm up. I'm looking forward to pitching Sunday in New York. But I can't be giving up five a game. It's just tough on the offense."
David Ortiz (2 for 4, 3 RBIs) picked up Wells and Timlin with an RBI single in the eighth, scoring Edgar Renteria, who had tripled, to tie it at 6-6. But on came Embree, who recorded an out before allowing an Orlando Hudson single, a McDonald walk, and Johnson's game-ending shot.
''I was trying to hold the runner and get a ground ball and I just lost him," Embree said. ''I just made a bad pitch."
One of many on this night, but to Embree's dismay, the last one.