Saito bends but preserves win (End of game, 4:16, 7-0 Sox)
After Billy Wagner’s quick eighth, it looked like Takashi Saito would come on and quickly polish off the Jays in the ninth.
He fanned Travis snider and Rod Barajas to start the inning, but he then walked Jose Bautista and let John McDonald shoot a double to deep right. Marco Scutaro worked a 3-2 count out of Saito, but in the end he skied high to left field to end the game and give the Sox a 7-0 win.
The Sox have handed Toronto eight straight losses at Fenway going back to last season. The Jays return to Fenway Sept. 28, and the next loss will tie the longest franchise losing streak of nine straight from August, 2004 to April, 2005.
The Sox end their 10-game home stand with three straight wins, going 7-3 in that span. The Yankees didn’t give up any ground, beating the White Sox 8-3. But the Rangers, 2.5 back in the wild card race, trailed the Twins 2-1 as the Sox were winding down.
Wake gets a cortisone shot tomorrow. Jon Lester starts Tuesday in a crucial series in Tampa. The Rays lost 4-3 to Detroit, and the Sox have a chance to deal them a huge blow in the wild card standings.
Fielding miscues help Sox tack on three more (Mid 8, 3:52, 7-0 Sox)
It started with an Alex Gonzalez double. Then Jacoby Ellsbury dropped down a bunt and Jays catcher Rod Barajas flinched for a second, deciding whether to pick it up or let it roll. In that split second Ellsbury was already on his way to first, and Gonzalez was at third. Then, Dustin Pedroia bounced a ball back to the mound, and Shawn Camp tried firing it to third to catch Gonzalez but wound up throwing it away, letting Gonzalez and Ellsbury score as Pedroia took second. After a Victor Martinez strikeout, Kevin Youkilis drove in Pedroia with a single to deep left, giving him three RBIs today (his third multi-RBI game this month and his 20th of the season). Billy Wagner came on for the Sox in the eighth and fanned Aaron Hill, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells (giving up a double to Adam Lind in between).
Delcamen picks up where Byrd left off (Mid 7, 3:38, 4-0)
After Paul Byrd gave the Sox six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, Manny Delcamen came on and got three pop-ups (walking Jose Bautista in between) to hand the Jays another short inning.
Halladay settles down, hangs ‘0’ in the sixth (End 6, 3:25, 4-0 Sox)
After giving up runs in each of the first four innings, Roy Halladay threw another scoreless inning, nothcing his fourth and fifth strikeouts, fanning J.D. Drew and freezing Jason Varitek with an 0-2 fastball. Jesse Carlson and Shawn Camp are throwing for the Jays.
Byrd tosses 1-2-3 inning, likely his last (Mid 6, 3:16, 4-0 Sox)
After six scoreless innings, Paul Byrd’s at 83 pitches, and Manny Delcarmen is warming up.
Sox come up empty in fifth (End 5, 3:12, 4-0 Sox)
Roy Halladay threw his first clean inning of the afternoon, retiring Dusin Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Kevin Youkilis in order. With four earned runs on six hits including a homer so far, this start adds to what had been Halladay’s worst two-start stretch since May 2007, when he gave up 16 earned runs over a 10.1 inning span in starts against Texas and Boston.
Byrd keeps slate clean in the fifth (Mid 5, 3:01, 4-0)
After giving up a leadoff double, Paul Byrd took care of the Jays on his own, cleaning up comebackers by Marco Scutaro and Aaron Hill. He then notched his first strikeout of the day, pushing a front-door slider by Adam Lind to end the inning and hang another scoreless frame. Terry Francona didn’t really set any boundaries on how long Byrd would be on the mound other than that, “You’re not going to see him throw 130 pitches.” Knowing Byrd wasn’t going to come out blowing guys away, Francona made an interesting point: “If you’re throwing 84 to 86, the hitters will let you know if it’s enough.” So far it’s been enough to manage the Jays order.
Another leadoff hit helps Sox stretch lead (End 4, 2:54, 4-0)
The Sox are building sort of a Lego lead, adding another run that all started with a smart one-out call by Terry Francona to start J.D. Drew on a hit-and-run with Jason Varitek. Instead of being an inning-ending double play ball, it moved Drew into scoring position, allowing him to score a batter later when Alex Gonzalez stroked a single to right.
Byrd escapes bases-loaded jam (Mid 4, 2:43, 3-0 Sox)
It was the first rough patch of the afternoon for Paul Byrd. Adam Lind shot a leadoff double deep off the Wall to start things, then after retiring Lyle Overbay (fly out) and Vernon Wells (ground out), Byrd walked both Rod Barajas and Travis Snider. With the bases juiced, Sox pitching coach John Farrell came to the mound to settle Byrd down some. Byrd was then able to get Jose Bautista to sky a ball to right to end the inning with no harm done.
Sox mine another run around Pedroia’s leadoff double (End 3, 2:34, 3-0 Sox)
Dustin Pedroia shot a double off the Wall, Victor Martinez moved him over with a ground ball to third, Kevin Youkilis shot a fly ball to center to drive him in –his second RBI of the day — and the Sox stretched their lead to three. In his last start against the Sox on Aug. 19, Roy Halladay gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings of work, and the Sox have sort of picked at him again in these first three innings.
Byrd looks strong through three (Mid 3, 2:23, 2-0 Sox)
John McDonald tried to lay a bunt down to the left side to start the inning, and Paul Byrd hopped off the mound, chased it down and fired it over to first for the out. Byrd hasn’t notched a strikeout yet, but he’s looked more than steady to 11 batters, and Tony Massarotti made a good point: considering where Byrd was two months ago (at home, despite throwing all year) it says a lot that he’s dueling with Roy Halladay, the hottest commodity at the trade deadline.
Baldelli blasts solo shot (End 2, 2:18, 2-0 Sox)
Terry Francona’s repeatedly sung Rocco Baldelli’s praises throughout the season, but watching Baldelli blast a high 1-0 fastball off the Sports Authority sign over the Wall in left for his sixth home run of the season only made his most recent compliment more fitting. “He’s a good hitter, a strong kid,” Francona said. “We wouldn’t have him if he hadn’t gone through what he did. He’s too good a player.”
Pair of doubles put Sox on the board (End 1, 2:00, 1-0 Sox)
It was way inside, but Victor Martinez ripped it down the right-field line for a two-out double, and the Sox capitalized. A batter later, Roy Halladay let a 3-2 pitch catch too much of the plate and Kevin Youkilis shot it down the third-base line past a diving John McDonald to drive in Martinez.
Scutaro jumps right back in (Mid 1, 1:45, 0-0)
Back at the top of the Jays order after taking one off the noggin Friday night, Marco Scutaro stroked a 1-2 pitch hard to left field for a leadoff single. It was his 65th two-strike hit of the season. The only person with more is Jacoby Ellsbury (66). He’d be left stranded at second after a fly out by Aaron Hill and ground balls from Adam Lind and Lyle Overbay.