Final: Red Sox 14, Blue Jays 1
The Red Sox extended their winning streak to nine games in a row after erupting for 14 runs on 17 hits to complete a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays by a combined margin of 35-6 as Jon Lester became the first nine-game winner in the American League before a Rogers Centre crowd of 30,364.
Top of 9th: Red Sox 14, Blue Jays 1
A well-rested Kevin Youkilis, who had the day off Saturday, wound up having quite a day for himself today. The Sox third baseman went 3 for 4 with 2 walks and had 3 runs scored, 4 RBI, a double and a 2-run homer (his ninth of the season) in the ninth that gave the Sox a commanding 13-run lead.
Bottom of 8th: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 1
That'll probably do it for Jon Lester, who, barring a catastrophic meltdown of Boston's bullpen in the bottom of the ninth, will likely become the first nine-game winner in the American League. Lester went eight strong innings to record his ninth quality start of the season. Lester's only blemish was a solo homer by Jose Bautista that broke up no-hit bid in the fourth after he had retired 11 consecutive batters on 34 pitches. He didn't walk a single player until the eighth, when he issued a leadoff walk to Edwin Encarnacion.
Lester stranded him, however, when he retired the next three in a row, striking out Rajai Davis for his eighth strikeout of the game before inducing Jayson Nix to hit an inning-ending pop up to first. He threw 102 pitches, 68 strikes.
Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 1
Another 1-2-3 inning for Lester. Ho-hum. The lefthander continues to dominate. The Blue Jays have now gone to Frank Francisco to take over for Shawn Camp in the eighth.
Middle of 7th: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 1
Some position changes: Mike Cameron, who pinch-hit for Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh (and struck out), has remained in the game in left field, while Drew Sutton, in for left fielder Carl Crawford, has come in to play first base.
Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 1
OK, can we say it now? This, undoubtedly, has to be Lester's best start of 2011. Three up, three down, the last two by strikeout to give him seven for the game. He's thrown 77 pitches, 53 strikes, and looks like he can go the distance. Not that Terry Francona is likely to let him do so.
Top of 6th: Red Sox 12, Blue Jays 1
Sox showing no mercy for John Farrell's boys, tacking on three more runs on RBI doubles by Kevin Youkilis (which scored Dustin Pedroia, walk), David Ortiz (which scored Youkilis) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (which scored Ortiz). After Ortiz's run-scoring double, Farrell relieved Luis Perez with Shawn Camp, who got out of the inning by inducing J.D. Drew to strike out swinging for the third consecutive at-bat. The Sox now have 13 hits, six for extra bases including three homers and three doubles.
Bottom of 5th: Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1
Lester's on cruise control now. Despite giving up another hit (a ground-ball single to center by Edwin Encarnacion), Lester continued to dominate, striking out the first and last batters he faced to end the inning. He now has thrown five shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks, to go along with five strikeouts. He's thrown 62 pitches, 44 for strikes.
Top of 5th: Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1
The Sox have broken this game wide open on Dustin Pedroia's 2-run homer (his fifth of the season) and David Ortiz's 3-run homer (his 17th of the year), which chased Toronto rookie righthander Kyle Drabek (4-plus innings, 8 runs, 7 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts, 91 pitches). Reliever Luis Perez came in and allowed back-to-back hits by Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia before getting the first out of the inning by striking out J.D. Drew (swinging, badly). With men on the corners, Marco Scutaro's RBI single up the middle scored Crawford to make it 9-1.
Bottom of 4th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1
Cancel that no-hitter alert: Jose Bautista just broke up Jon Lester's bid for a perfect game by taking the lefthander deep to center for a solo homer (his 21st of the season) with two out in the bottom of the fourth. After retiring the first 11 consecutive batters he faced, preventing the first 10 from even hitting the ball out of the infield, Corey Patterson was the first to loft a ball out of the field, hitting a deep fly to center. It proved a harbinger when Bautista came to the plate and drove one deep on a 2-2 count to break up Lester's no-hit bid and put the Blue Jays on the board. Adam Lind then came up and hit a deep fly to center to end the inning.
Bottom of 3d: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0
Lester looking dominant. Unhittable, in fact. Oops, don't want to jinx it. Another 1-2-3 inning for the lefthander. He's retired nine in a row, struck out two batters, thrown 28 pitches (21 strikes) and not allowed a ball out of the infield.
Top of 3d: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0
The Sox tacked on two more runs after Drabek walked the first two batters he faced: Marco Scutaro and Jacoby Ellsbury. After Dustin Pedroia struck out, Adrian Gonzalez grounded to second, scoring Scutaro from third to make it 2-0. It was Gonzalez's 60th RBI of the season. Kevin Youkilis made it 3-0 when his RBI ground-ball single to left scored Ellsbury. David Ortiz grounded back to the mound to end the inning.
Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0
Another 1-2-3 inning for Lester, who has now retired the first six batters he's faced in a row, recording one strikeout in the process. Through two innings, Lester has thrown just 15 pitches, 12 for strikes.
Middle of 2d: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0
After Jon Lester submitted a tidy 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first, Kyle Drabek responded with one of his own in the top of the second, striking out the first two batters he faced in the frame --- Carl Crawford and Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- before inducing J.D. Drew to fly to center. Drabek now has three strikeouts, all coming in a row after he fanned David Ortiz to end the first inning.
Top of first: Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0
It was said when the Red Sox acquired him that Adrian Gonzalez had a swing built for Fenway Park. And while that may be true, it should be said Gonzalez seems to have a swing that suits him well at Toronto's Rogers Centre, as well. Entering the game, Gonzalez was hitting .470 (8 for 17) with 6 runs scored, 7 RBIs, 3 triples, and 3 home runs, all of them coming in his first visit of the season here May 10-11. Before going to San Diego, Gonzalez had one previous appearance here in 2005 with the Rangers and had a solo homer and a walk in that game.
Today, Gonzalez added to that total with a solo homer off Kyle Drabek to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. It extended Gonzalez's RBI streak to a career-long nine consecutive games, the longest stretch since Manny Ramirez's 10-game RBI streak from Sept. 14-24 in 2002, and added to Gonzalez's Major League-leading total of 59 RBI.
In six career games so far at Rogers Centre, Gonzalez has hit 5 homers with 8 runs scored and 9 RBI.
Greetings from sun-splashed Rogers Centre, where the Red Sox will attempt to win their ninth consecutive game today against the Blue Jays. The Sox will send Jon Lester to the mound to oppose rookie Kyle Drabek, son of former Cy Young winner Doug Drabek.
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