Red Sox - 130 213 100 - 11 11 2 Blue Jays - 105 200 000 - 8 8 1Toronto led 8-7 with one out in the top of the sixth, but the Red Sox had two runners on base. Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit was summoned to keep his team in the lead. David Ortiz had other plans. Big Papi swung at missed at Benoit's first pitch, then launched a three-run home run to right (thus likely adding to Benoit's Ortizian nightmares). The shot gave Boston a 10-8 advantage - and the bullpen held on the rest of the way.
Ortiz: "I thought I was getting a different menu, but he just threw me a hittable [pitch]. It wasn't that bad -- it was right at the bottom of the strike zone ... We're going, we're moving, we got that mojo back. We had a good road trip. Second half has been pretty much away every game. We're in a good position right now; we're looking pretty well right now. Our pitching has been outstanding. Today was a little crazy, but the bullpen stepped up and did a good job. We're in good shape."
It was Ortiz's 535th career homer, putting the Big Man 18th on the all-time list. Mickey Mantle, with 536, is at #17. ... Ortiz leads all opposing players in doubles, home runs, extra-base hits, and RBI against the Blue Jays. He's hit 61 home runs against Toronto (with three games still to play), with 41 of them coming on the road (the most dongs he's hit in any visiting park).
After both teams scored in the first, Jackie Bradley belted a three-run dong in the second. Toronto came right back (and then some) against Clay Buchholz (3-4-6-4-3, 63), with Troy Tulowitzki's grand slam being the big blow in the third.
Matt Barnes stranded two runners in the seventh and Koji Uehara got a big double play off the bat of Josh Donaldson to escape the eighth unscathed. Since returning from the disabled list, Uehara has retired eight of 10 batters, including five by strikeout. (And Donaldson is in a deep slump: 0-for-11 in the series and 0-for-23 over his last seven games.)
In the bottom of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel walked Edwin Encarnacion (who had hit two home runs earlier). Jose Bautista struck out swinging. Russell Martin doubled to right, sending Encarnacion to third, but the Red Sox challenged the call and it was overturned and ruled a foul ball. Kimbrel wild-pitched Edwin to second, but got Martin looking at strike three. Tulowitzki (stepping in having been on base in all four plate appearances; 3-for-3 with a walk) lined the first pitch to Mookie Betts in right - and the water was dirty!
Hanley Ramirez's home run to dead center in the fifth was measured at 467 feet. It was his seventh homer in his last 14 games. ... Both teams used nine pitchers.
Next: A seven-game homestand, with three against Baltimore and four against the Yankees.
The current state of the AL East:
BOS --- TOR 2.0 BAL 2.0 MFY 4.0
Pedroia, 2BBuchholz's last four starts: 2.31 ERA.
The East is getting very cozy (maybe a little too cozy):
BOS --- TOR 1.0 BAL 2.0 MFY 3.0