SOX WIN (10:37, END 9, 10-9 SOX)
Papelbon walked the tightrope, but he stranded a pair of runners to save a wild game. Afte Encarnacion walked with two out, Barajas popped to right, where Youkilis made a long run and the catch in foul ground.
The Sox drew to even on their road trip and put themselves in position to jump into a tie for the wild card with the Rangers should they falter against the Twins. The Sox won despite Josh Beckett's first bad start since June and thanks to a breakout offensive game highlighted by David Ortiz's continued resurgence.
TROUBLE TO START (10:25, BOT 9, 10-9 SOX)
Overbay flipped a single into left to lead off, and John McDonald came on to pinch run. Vernon Wells hit one hard to center, but Ellsbury caught it. One out, Ruiz up.
TO THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH (10:23, MID 9, 10-9 SOX)
The Sox started a small rally, Bay and Ortiz each walking, Ortiz intentionally. With one out, Green hit a ball hard at Encarnacion, who started a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Sox lead by only one run. Can Papelbon close it out?
SCOREBOARD WATCHING (10:16, TOP 9, 10-9 SOX)
In Texas, the Twins have erased a 5-0 deficit and are now tied with the Rangers, 5-5 in the sixth. The Sox entered tonight one game behind the Rangers in the AL wild card race.
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER (10:09, BOT 8, 10-9 SOX)
Papelbon walked Hill to load the bases, giving the Jays five straight base runners with two outs. Lind charged one to left, pushing Bay back to the warning track before he made the catching and ending a nearly catastrophic inning.
PAPELBON TEETERING (10:04, BOT 8, 10-9 SOX)
Francona called on Jonathan Papelbon after Bard yielded a two-out single to Encarnacion, and the game is hanging in the balance. Papelbon loaded the bases by allowing a single to Barajas and walking Snider. Scutaro slammed a single to right, landing right in front of Drew, and two runs scored.
BARD COMES ON (9:49, MID 8, 10-7 SOX)
With a three-run lead, Daniel Bard will pitch the eighth. Youkilis grounded to third to end the Sox' half of the inning.
SOX OPEN IT UP (9:45, TOP 8, 10-7 SOX)
Ellsbury drove the first pitch Tallet threw high and deep to right for a sacrifice fly, driving home Green. After Tallet retired Drew, Martinez shot a double down the leftfield line. Gonzalez scored easily, giving the Sox some precious breathing room for the final innings. Youkilis is batting with two down.
JANSSEN THROWS IT AWAY (9:36, TOP 8, 8-7 SOX)
The Sox retook the lead after a colossal blunder by Janssen. First, Ortiz walked and Green drilled a single to left. Gonzalez dropped down a bad sacrifice bunt, back to Janssen and bouncing high. Janssen had a good chance to nab Ortiz at third, but he rushed the pick-up and bobbled the ball. He recovered in time to still get Green at first, but he twirled and rushed the throw. The ball scooted to the stands. Ortiz scored, Green went to third, and Gonzalez reached second.
Still no outs, and Gaston pulled Janssen in favor of Brian Tallet to pitch to Ellsbury.
OKIE DOKIE (9:27, END 7, 7-7)
Okajima shut down the Jays with ease, blowing through a 1-2-3 inning. Hill grounded to short, and Lind and Overbay each grounded to third.
THAT WAS FAST (9:21, MID 7, 7-7)
Casey Janssen tore through the meat of the Red Sox' order. Youkilis grounded to deep short, Bay struck out flailing at a splitter, and Lowell struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt as well. Hideki Okajima is on, replacing Delcarmen.who was perfect in his 2/3 of an inning.
BECKETT LOSES LEAD, LEAVES (9:10, BOT 6, 7-7)
With one out, Barajas cracked a two-run home run to dead center, tying the game and knocking Beckett out of the game. Ruiz had reached on a walk. Manny Delcarmen is the new pitcher a brand new game.
So now, for the season, Beckett is 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in the three starts he made without Varitek catching, having allowed 30 hits in 16 innings. Staggering.
SOX GO QUIETLY, BECKETT BACK OUT (9:01, MID 6, 7-5 SOX)
The Sox couldn't answer, and Beckett starts the sixth having thrown 84 pitches. He's throwing to Victor Martinez for the first time tonight after Jason Varitek's late scratch. Some numbers to consider:
Throwing to George Kottaras and Martinez in three starts, including tonight, Beckett has a 10.34 ERA and has allowed 29 hits in 15 2/3 innings. He lost both starts he made in battery with Kottaras.
Throwing to Varitek this season, Beckett is 14-2 with a 2.52 ERA.
BECKETT GETS MAD, GETS OUT (8:52, END 5, 7-5 SOX)
Beckett pitched the final two outs of that inning with some anger, getting two strikeouts to strand Lind. After he punched out Overbay with a 92-mph fastball, he didn't catch the ball so much as he snapped at it with his glove. To end the inning, he sat down Wells.
JAYS KNOCK AROUND BECKETT (8:46, BOT 5, 7-5 SOX)
Well, this is certainly unexpected. Given another to chance to finish off the Jays, Beckett couldn't do it. Three hits -- a single by Snider, a double by Hill, a two-RBI single by Lind -- in the inning's first four batters have cut the lead back to two. Pitching coach-for-the-night Gary Tuck visited Beckett, and Manny Delcarmen is warming in the bullpen.
BAY ANSWERS (8:34, TOP 5, 7-3 SOX)
The Sox aren't wasting any time. For the second straight inning, a Sox batter hit a home run on the first pitch, this time Bay lashing an opposite-field bomb off the face of the second deck in right-center. It was Bay's team-leading 26th homer this season.
JAYS HANGING AROUND (8:31, END 4, 6-3 SOX)
On most nights, six runs for Beckett would be a lock, but the Jays are still in the game. Wells led off with a double to left, moved to third on a grounder, and scored on Edwin Encarnacion's fly ball to left-center. And Rod Barajas just missed a home run with two outs, his ball down the leftfield line hooking foul before grounding weakly to second.
THAT'S IT FOR ROMERO (8:20, TOP 4, 6-2 SOX)
Romero received another early exit against the Red Sox. With two outs in the fourth, he's done, having allowed one more run, which was unearned. Gonzalez pushed Green to third with a bunt single, and Ellsbury drove him in with a missile of a sac fly to left. Drew bunted over Gonzalez, trying to take advantage of the shift the Jays put on but tapping the ball a little too close to Romero. After Romero walked Martinez, Cito Gaston called on Camp to face Youkilis.
BECKETT SETTLES, ONLY A BIT (8:14, TOP 4, 5-2 SOX)
Beckett plowed through the third, but the Jays hit a couple more balls hard. Marco Scutaro ripped a liner to left that Bay snared, and Adam Lind crushed a double to center. But he struck out Overbay looking to escape the inning.
And how about David Ortiz? To lead off the fourth, Ortiz maintained his torrid pace. He lined the first pitch over the fence in right-center, an absolute laser. He's now 5 for his last 10 with three homers, five walks, six runs, six RBI, and two doubles. And Green followed with Ortiz with a liner to left that Snider dropped for a two-base error.
ANOTHER HOME RUN OFF BECKETT (8:03, BOT 3, 4-2 SOX)
Travis Snider led off the third by blasting another home run off of Beckett, his fourth of the season. Snider launched a 2-2 pitch to the opposite field, over the leftfield fence. Beckett also allowed two homers in his last start, against Detroit. Prior to those two home runs, Beckett had not allowed a home run in five straight starts.
ROUGHING UP ROMERO (7:57, MID 3, 4-1 SOX)
The Sox were threatening again after Martinez singled up the middle and Youkilis walked with no outs, and already Sean Camp was warming up for the Blue Jays. That's not a surprising given the opposing pitcher. Ricky Romero is having a great rookie season -- just not against the Sox. He is 10-5 with a 3.70 ERA overall. Against everyone but the Sox, he's 10-3 with a 3.26 ERA. Against Boston, even before tonight's carnage, Romero was 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA.
For that inning, anyway, Romero survived. He got out of the jam when Bay flied to right and Lowell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play
BUMP FOR BECKETT (7:50, END 2 4-1 SOX)
Beckett gave up his first run, a home run to right center by designated hitter Randy Ruiz with one out. He settled and got out of the inning with no other base runners.
ORTIZ GETTING HOT? (7:47, BOT 2, 4-0 SOX)
Ortiz has been a monster since he shed his slump in Texas, swinging with confidence. Including tonight, Ortiz is 4 for his last 9 with five walks, two homers, five RBI, five walks, five runs, and two doubles. It's small sample size, but those are some encouraging numbers for the Sox.
Also, Beckett got a fly to center from Vernon Wells to start the second.
SOX PILE ON (7:43, TOP 2, 4-0 SOX)
The Sox added a pair of runs. Lowell scored on a slow ground out to short by Gonzalez. Ellsbury ripped a single to right, and third base coach DeMarlo Hale windmilled Ortiz home. Ortiz sped home made a nice slide behind the plate, tapping it with his left hand just before Rod Barajas could apply the tag. Ellsbury scooted to second.
SOX TAKE THE LEAD (7:36, TOP 2, 2-0 SOX)
The Sox have put two on the board and might get some more with two men in scoring position and one out. Lowell blooped a single into shallow right, which loaded the bases. (Since last Tuesday, Lowell is 9 for 22 (.409) with three homers and five RBI.) David Ortiz flicked a soft line drive double down the rightfield line, scoring two and sending Lowell to third. Nick Green struck out, bringing up Alex Gonzalez.
SOX THREATENING (7:31, TOP 2, 0-0)
On the fourth pitch he saw following his suspension, Kevin Youkilis smashed a double off the base of the wall in left-center. Jason Bay followed with a walk, and the Sox have two on with none out and Mike Lowell batting.
BECKETT BACK AT IT (7:25, END 1, 0-0)
Josh Beckett, probably the best pitcher in the American League since May began, cruised through the first. Aaron Hill smoked a one-out double, but Beckett got out of the inning with a fly ball from Adam Lind and a looking strikeout of Lyle Overbay.
DOUBLE VISION (7:17, MID 1, 0-0)
The Red Sox ended their first inning against Ricky Romero with a double play. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking at a fastball over the inside corner. J.D. Drew, back in the lineup for the first time since Friday, ripped a single to right. Victor Martinez hit a shot up the middle, but Romero gloved it and started a 1-6-3 double play.