Final: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1
On a bone-chilling day that was more fitting of the Winter Classic, the Red Sox finally heated up, getting timely hitting from Jed Lowrie and another lights-out pitching performance from Josh Beckett in Saturday afternoon’s 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,310.
Lowrie, whom manager Terry Francona penciled in as the lead-off hitter in his batting order over the struggling Carl Crawford, sparked a nine-hit attack, going 3 for 5 with two RBI, a home run and two runs scored.
It came as an early birthday present for Lowrie, who will celebrate his 27th Sunday.
Beckett, meanwhile, submitted his second quality start in as many outings allowing just one run on three hits over seven innings while recording two walks and nine strikeouts. It gave Beckett (2-1, 1.80 ERA) 19 Ks over his last two games.
After Daniel Bard relieved Beckett in the eighth and threw a scoreless inning, Jonathan Papelbon came in and did the same in the ninth to earn his second save of the season and 190th for his career.
Top of 8th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1
Pitching change for Red Sox: Daniel Bard now in the game for Josh Beckett, who allowed one run on three hits over seven innings while walking two and striking out nine batters, giving him 19 Ks in his last two starts.
Middle of 7th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1
Another quality start for Josh Becket. The righthander fanned the first two batters he face — for his eighth and ninth Ks of the game — before getting Jose Molina to line out to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez with his 101st pitch of the game. Daniel Bard is warming up in the bullpen.
Bottom of 6th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1
Beckett had another tidy inning. A walk to Adam Lind prevented him from retiring the side in 1-2-3 fashion, but Beckett fanned Aaron Hill to retire to the dugout having thrown six innings of one-run, three-hit baseball while notching seven strikeouts on 91 pitches (55 for strikes). With a bullpen that was extended in Friday night’s 7-6 loss, it might be necessary for Beckett to go in the seventh.
Top of 5th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1
After watching him give up a single to Pedroia and a walk to Gonzalez, Toronto manager John Farrell came out of the dugout to give Jo-Jo Reyes the heave-ho. Carlos Villanueva entered and got Youkilis to hit into a 4-6-3 double play and Mike Cameron to strike out swinging. Reyes departed after having thrown 94 pitches (54 for strikes) with allowing four runs on seven hits to go with five walks and three strikeouts.
Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1
Jed Lowrie’s making Terry Francona look like a managerial genius for opting to go with Lowrie as his lead-off hitter over the struggling Carl Crawford, who was 3-for-28 (.107) in six games in the lead-off spot. Lowrie hit a two-run homer (his first of the season), taking a 2-2 pitch from Jo-Jo Reyes deep to the Monstah seats in left. It scored Jacoby Ellsbury, who drew a lead-off walk from Reyes, who got out of the inning by getting Youkilis to hit a pop foul to first and getting Ortiz to take a third called strike.
Middle of 2d: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1
Beckett gave up his first run in his last 10 innings pitched when Travis Snider hit a one-out RBI single that scored Aaron Hill (double off the wall to left) . Beckett, who led off the inning with a strikeout of Adam Lind, wound up getting out of the inning by twirling his curveball for back-to-back strikeouts of Jayson Nix and Jose Molina.
Top of 2d: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 0
The Sox had a chance to do some damage against Toronto’s lefthander Jo-Jo Reyes, but managed to push across only two runs on back-to-back RBI singles to right by Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis. After issuing a walk to David Ortiz that loaded the bases, Reyes got out of the jam he struck out Mike Cameron (looking) and Jason Varitek (swinging), before getting Darnell McDonald to ground out to second.
Middle of first: Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0
Josh Beckett on the hill, looking dominant once again, just as he did in his 4-0 shutout of the Yankees, when he threw eight scoreless innings and struck out 10. Beckett has 1-2-3 inning in the first vs. the Jays, throwing 10 pitches (7 for strikes). He has now strung together nine scoreless innings over his two starts, so far.
Brrrr. It’s cold at Fenway Park. Though the board in center field says the game-time temperature is 44 degrees, the biting wind is making it feel colder than last night’s start, which was 39 degrees. By the way, was it as cold for the Winter Classic? At any rate, the Sox, who dropped a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays Friday night to fall to 2-10, will be looking to heat it up in this bone-chilling conditions.
Please feel free to leave your comments here, if you’re so inclined.