SOX SWEEP JAYS (9:50, END 9, 8-1 SOX)
Cabrera closed out the game in the ninth, getting a popup to center from Barajas to end it after walking the leadoff batter.
The Sox swept the Blue Jays, playing some of their best baseball in a long time to finish their road trip 4-2. Jon Lester allowed a run in the first inning, then shut out Toronto for the next seven innings. He allowed three hits and two walks while striking out five. J.D. Drew, batting eighth, went 4 for 4 with home runs in each of his first two at-bats. The Sox will fly back to Boston tonight and start a three-game series with the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. The Rangers are leading the Twins, 5-1, in Texas, so the Sox will likely remain one game ahead in the wild-card race.
LESTER DONE (9:42, MID 9, 8-1 SOX)
After a quick inning, Fernando Cabrera has replaced Lester, who took the lead the Sox gave him and didn’t let the Jays anywhere near it. He threw 105 pitches, 60 for strikes. He allowed one run, three hits, and two walks while striking out five. Just a great performance.
LESTER STILL ROLLING, SOX ROMPING (9:36, END 8, 8-1 SOX)
Apologies for the lack of updates. Internet issues, despite working in a building sponsored by a telecommunications company, have been ruining the work portion of my night so far. You’ve missed Lester continue to plow through the Jays. He has five strikeouts through eight dominant, three-hit innings.
Martinez nailed an upper-deck home run in the seventh, just a massive, massive blast. One scout told me tonight, “He’s their best hitter. Better than Pedroia. Better than Youkilis. He can flat-out hit.” The Sox produced a run in the eighth as well, and after another single, Drew is 4 for 4 with two home runs. Now that is production from the bottom of the order.
LESTER ROLLING (9:02, END 6, 6-1 SOX)
The resurgent offense — 22 runs and counting in three games now — is robbing the spotlight tonight, but Lester is putting together a gem. Hill singled with one out, and Lester immediately induced a 6-4-3 double play from Wells, turned smootly at second by Pedroia after a slick throw from Gonzalez. Lester has allowed only three hits tonight.
SOX KNOCK OUT CECIL, ADD ON (8:34, TOP 5, 5-1 SOX)
Cito Gaston called on Brian Tallet with one out and two men on after Cecil walked Youkilis. Jason Bay chopped a ball to third. John McDonald, typically a terrific defender, charged and made a quick throw that sailed over Millar’s head and into a camera pit. Pedroia, who led off the inning with a single to right, scored and two moved to scoring position for Ortiz. He’s up now.
LESTER CRUISES (8:24, END 4, 4-1 SOX)
Given the lead, Lester responded with his easiest inning yet. He got Barajas on a pop to second and Millar on a liner to left. He struck out Ruiz on an outside curveball, the pitch he’s been going to for strikeouts tonight.
DREW AGAIN? (8:14, TOP 4, 4-1 SOX)
Drew nailed his second home run in two at-bats off of Cecil, a blast well over the fence in right. The two-run homer gives the Sox a three-run lead and Drew his first multiple-home run game this year, and 13th of his career. His last came June 8, 2007. Not bad for an eight hitter.
SOX TAKE LEAD (8:11, TOP 4, 2-1 SOX)
Cecil’s mistake led to a run. Lowell reached down and poked a single through the box, scoring Bay for the go-ahead run.
TWO BASES, ONE GAFFE (8:08, TOP 4, 1-1)
Jason Bay walked to lead off, and things got weird. Barajas threw a ball back to Cecil, and the ball deflected off his glove and trickled toward second base. No big deal. Cecil wanted a new ball, so he chucked the one he retrieved into the Blue Jays dugout. Only he had not called time. The umpires gave Bay second and third base. When you think you’ve seen it all …
Ortiz laced a grounder down the right-field line, but Millar smothered it with a dive and held Bay at third. One out.
LESTER GETTING LOCKED IN (7:59, END 3, 1-1)
After his rough first inning, Lester has settled into a nice rhythm. Scutaro grounded to third. Hill flailed at an outside curveball, a terrible swing, for strike three. Wells grounded out to Lowell, whose low throw Youkilis made an excellent scoop on to end the inning.
SOX SQUANDER A CHANCE (7:54, MID 3, 1-1)
The Red Sox had men on first and second with no outs, but they couldn’t take the lead. Pedroia hit a soft liner to short. Victor Martinez flared to center. Kevin Youkilis couldn’t check his swing on an 81-m.p.h. changeup.
DREW TIES IT (7:47, TOP 3, 1-1)
J.D. Drew tied the score with a leadoff home run in the third inning. Brett Cecil left a 1-and-0, 91-m.p.h. fastball high, and Drew blasted it into the Red Sox bullpen. This was not a cheapie. with the roof closed, the ball isn’t traveling as well as it has the past few days. Alex Gonzalez followed with a hard single up the middle, adding to his surprising burst of offense. Jacoby Ellsbury dropped a drag bunt and reached, putting men on first and second with no outs for Pedroia.
JAYS STRIKE EARLY (7:30, END 1, 1-0 JAYS)
Jon Lester is off to a slow start in the Rogers Centre, inside of which you can hear thunder booming outside. Marco Scutaro reached on an infield single, Aaron Hill ripped a double to left, and Vernon Wells walked. Lester extricated himself by inducing a 4-6-3 double play from Rod Barajas, although a run did score. He struck out Kevin Millar to limit the damage.