Frustrating -- no patience for most of the game against Halladay, an Embree-Foulke bullpen meltdown, a few second-guessing opportunities. On the plus side, Arroyo pitched well and we saw another Manny moonshot -- this one cleared the left field light tower.
Arroyo allowed two two-out singles in the first and second innings, but kept Toronto off the board. He allowed a game-tying home run to Koskie in the sixth, but posted a nice line: 7-8-1-1-3-103.
Halladay cruised through the first six innings, throwing only 56 pitches. Ramirez destroyed his 10th pitch, driving it over one of the light towers and into the parking garage across Landsdowne Street. It bounced once in the garage and landed down on the railroad tracks that run along the Mass Pike. Manny's last five hits have been home runs.
That first-inning homer gave Boston a 1-0 lead until Koskie's HR tied it. Halladay actually had a three-pitch inning in the fourth. Nixon singled, Ramirez hit into a double play and Ortiz tapped back to the mound. If the first two guys are out on two pitches, you almost always see the third guy take at least a couple, if only to give his own pitcher an opportunity to get a drink of water. Not this time.
Halladay ran into trouble in the seventh. With one out, he walked Ramirez on four pitches and gave up a home run to deep right to Ortiz. Millar was hit with a pitch and David McCarty pinch-ran. He also took over at first base in the top of the eighth. At the same time, Francona pulled Ramirez, sending Jay Payton to left field.
If Manny wasn't hurt, this was a highly questionable decision. Boston held a two-run lead with two innings to play, and Manny's spot was guaranteed to come up again -- he would be the 5th batter in the 8th. Alan Embree relieved Arroyo in the eighth and in five pitches gave up a single to Koskie and a game-tying home run to dead center to Vernon Wells.
In the bottom of the eighth, Halladay retired Vazquez and Bellhorn, but allowed a single to Damon, balked him to second and wild pitched him to third. Toronto decided to walk Nixon intentionally (the count was 3-2) and pitch to ... Payton. Manny's understudy popped up the first pitch to left to end the inning.
Keith Foulke allowed the go-ahead run in the ninth. After hitting Catalanotto and walking Zaun, Foulke gave up singles to Hillenband (a runner was thrown out at the plate) and Koskie. 4-3 Blue Jays.
The Red Sox rallied against Miguel Batista in the bottom of the ninth. After Ortiz flew to the track in left, McCarty singled to deep short. Renteria flew to left, but Varitek's single to left center put McCarty on third. But that was as far as he got, as Vazquez hit an 0-2 pitch to Wells in center.
You could second guess Francona for bringing in Embree in the eighth -- should Foulke have pitched two innings, having been off yesterday? However, I think those criticisms would be off-base because (a) Embree has been quite good and (b) Foulke gave the game away anyway.
Rather than fault Tito's use of the pen, I'd bitch about taking Manny out of the game and the entire team's failure to work the count against Halladay. Boston hit zero two-strike fouls in the first six innings. Halladay's pitch count by innings: 15-10-10 3-9-9 27-17: 100.
Until the seventh, the Red Sox had only two base runners: Manny's home run and Nixon's single leading off the fourth. Trot was erased on a double play on the very next pitch.
Good news from the Bronx, however, as Tampa Bay scored six runs off Randy Johnson (5.13 ERA) and beat the Yankees 6-2. Eduardo Perez hit two home runs for the Rays. ... Brian Roberts led the Orioles to an 8-4 win over the Tigers.
Boston visits Camden Yards at 7:00 tonight, with Wells facing Bruce Chen, who threw a complete game four-hitter at the Yankees in his last start.