Top 9th: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1:
Game over. Hideki Okajima pitches a 1-2-3 ninth as the Sox improve to 18-16, winning their third straight. Dasiuke Matsuzaka pitched a gem for seven innings – one run, three hits, no walks, nine strikeouts. The Sox are 14-7 in their last 21 games and have won five of their last seven series. The Sox will wrap up the series Wednesday with a matinee (1:35 start) against the Jays before embarking on a five-day, five-game road trip to Detroit and New York.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1
Does anyone stay for the end of games anymore? The place is about one-third full. Sox are heading to the ninth with Hideki Okajima coming on after Ramon Ramirez pitched a scoreless eighth.
Top 7th: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1:
Dice-K: no walks through seven. Probably done after 106 pitches. Gets standing-O as he leaves. Last time Dice-K went at least seven innings with no walks was May 19, 2007 in Game 1 of a doubleheader vs. Atlanta.
Top 6th: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1
Don’t know if Matsuzaka succumbed to the long waits between innings or the toll of the pitch count, but he wasn’t quite as sharp. A pair of doubles by John Buck and Fred Lewis disolved Dice-K’s shutout bid. Dice-K got Adam Lind to strikeout swinging to end the inning and strand a runner at second base. He’s thrown 95 pitches and Ramon Ramirez is warming in the Sox pen.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 0
J.D. Drew did what all guys who have shifts on them should do: bunt to the vacated side of the field. If you keep doing it successfully, they’ll stop shifting on you won’t they? Drew laid a perfect bunt toward third base. The Sox wound up loading the bases and scored a run on Shawn Camp’s wild pitch. Camp came on to relieve Eveland (who threw one pitch to Mike Lowell before exiting) after Youkilis walked to put runners at first and second and Camp walked Lowell to load them up. After the wild pitch, Beltre struck out and the Jays walked Varitek intentionally to reload the bases. Bill Hall hit a ball up the middle that Alex Gonzalez fielded and flipped to Hill for the force, scoring Youkilis with the second run of the inning.
UpdateMike Cameron went 1 for 3 with a walk leading off for the PawSox in a 5-1 win over Gwinnett. Cameron played seven innings in center field.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 0
Darnell McDonald’s double into the left-field corner scored Varitek. The Sox took advantage of a couple of Jays miscues. Varitek’s grounder went through Jose Bautista’s legs at third, but it was ruled a hit when a part of Varitek’s bat was headed toward Bautista, obviously distracting him. Bill Hall hit a pop-up to short center, which three Jays surrounded, and watched drop in. Vernon Wells picked the ball up and had a force at second with a good throw, but the throw was off and everyone was safe. After McDonald struck out, the runners advanced to second and third on Scutaro’s ground out. Pedroia ran the count to 3-2 before grounding to second, where Aaron Hill initially muffed it, but recovered to get Pedroia by a half-step.
Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0
Four scoreless innings for Dice-K with six K’s. Throwing low-93 m.p.h. heat with movement. If this continues, big shot in the arm for Sox with Josh Beckett missing a start with back spasms.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0
Mike Lowell just knocked into a bases-loaded, inning-ending double-play. Sox had a chance to break this open when Eveland walked Marco Scutaro and Dustin Pedroia and hit (ahem) Kevin Youkilis with a pitch. Replay showed the ball bounced in the dirt, then hit Youkilis. Dan Iassogna is the home plate umpire.
Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0
As Daisuke Matsuzaka pitches another effective inning (allowing his first hit, and infield hit to shortstop by John Buck) here’s a good example of why you shouldn’t rule out the Red Sox just yet. Look at who the divisional leaders were May 11, 2009:
Toronto – 22-12
Eventual winner: Yankees – 15-16
Kansas City – 18-14
Eventual winner: Twins – 15-17
Texas – 17-14
Eventual winner: Angels – 16-14
Eventual winner: Philadelphia – 15-14
Cardinals – 20-12 (eventual winner)
Dodgers – 22-11 (eventual winner).
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 0
Jason Varitek put a nice righthanded swing on a 2-0 Eveland fastball right down the middle of the plate and it left the ballpark via left field. No. 6 for the captain.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0
Near costly collision between Darnell McDonald and J.D. Drew, both converging on Lyle Overbay’s drive to right center. The two clipped each other as Drew made the catch, but both seem OK. Drew is just returning from missing a game with vertigo. Dice-K has thrown two solid innings and seems to have a lot of movement on his fastball and offspeed pitches. We’ll see how long it lasts.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0
J.D. Drew’s grounder scored Marco Scutaro with Boston’s first run and Kevin Youkilis’s sac fly scored Pedroia. Jays starter Dana Eveland walked Scutaro and then allowed a bloop ground-rule double that hit the dirt down the right-field line and kicked into the stands. Both runners scored. Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out two in the top of the inning and threw one fastball at 93, which is a higher velocity than he’s thrown in his previous two starts.