Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a two-run homer into the Boston bullpen (he also singled, stole a base and tripled, but, with a chance for the cycle, was left in the on-deck circle in the eighth). Julio Lugo and Dustin Pedroia both doubled and the Red Sox led 4-0.
Toronto answered in the top of the fifth. Aaron Hill singled and, with one out, John McDonald walked. After Vernon Wells fouled out, Matt Stairs cracked a three-run home run to right and the lead was down to 4-3.
Frank Thomas singled to start the Blue Jays sixth, but he was the last Toronto base runner of the night. (He was erased on a double play.) Kevin Youkilis's solo shot to dead center in the eighth was a little insurance.
Beckett was at 84 pitches through five innings -- and it was questionable as to whether Jeemer and Bot were available tonight. But Beckett got the Jays on 13 pitches in the sixth (97), 10 in the seventh (107), and 10 in the eighth (117). Papelbon pitched the ninth -- retiring the Jays in order on nine pitches (F9, 4-3, K looking).
Both starters faced more than 30 batters and threw more 117 pitches (I don't think the Sox have been involved in such a game this year):
IP H R ER BB K BF PITIn the Bronx, a seven-run seventh helped the Yankees beat Seattle 12-3. Boston stays 7 GA in the East, while in the wild card, New York is 2 GA of Seattle and 3.5 GA of Detroit.
Beckett 8 5 3 3 2 7 30 117 W 17-6
Halladay 8 9 5 5 2 7 35 126 L 14-7
Roy Halladay (3.87, 120 ERA+) / Josh Beckett (3.29, 138 ERA+)
Dr. Doubles versus Doc: 7-for-16, 3 HR, 9 RBI, .353/.389/.882/1.271.
That's the best slugging percentage and OPS of any Red Sox batter against Halladay. Ortiz is 21-for-69, 5 HR, .304/.342/.609/.951. ... Here are the Blue Jays stats against Beckett.
Also at 7 PM: Mariners at Yankees (7 GB).