September 30, 2016

G160: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

Blue Jays - 000 030 000 - 3 10  2
Red Sox   - 100 000 40x - 5 10  0
David Ortiz snapped a 3-3 tie with a line drive two-run homer to right field. It was his 38th rally killer of the season. Ortiz also got Boston on the board with an RBI-single in the first inning.

The Red Sox trailed 3-1 when Andrew Benintendi started the seventh with a double. Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin committed a throwing error on Dustin Pedroia's short grounder, and Benintendi scored. Pedroia went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Mookie Betts's single to center, tying the game. Brett Cecil game in from the pen and Ortiz took the goggled lefty deep.

The runs were especially welcome since the Red Sox had stranded two runners in the fourth, and wasted Pedroia's leadoff double in the fifth and Xander Bogaerts's one-out triple in the sixth.

Koji Uehara allowed a walk and a double with one out in the top of the eighth, but got a pop-up and a grounder to third to end the Jays' threat.

Craig Kimbrel faced Toronto's 3-4-5 hitters in the top of the ninth. Edwin Encarnacion grounded to third. Jose Bautista walked on five pitches. Martin fouled to first. Kimbrel's first pitch to Troy Tulowitzki was wild, and Bautista went to second. Kimbrel couldn't find the plate and ended up walking Tulowitzki. Dalton Pompey pinch-ran. With the potential tying runs on base, Dioner Navarro hit for Justin Smoak. Kimbrel fanned him on three pitches to end the game.

With the Orioles beating the Yankees and the Tigers topping Atlanta, the Blue Jays (having lost four straight) are in danger of stumbling out of the wild card race.

Pedroia went 3-for-5, and now has 201 hits. It's the second time in his career he has topped 200 hits; he finished his MVP season in 2008 with 213. ... Ortiz and Benintendi each had two hits.
Marco Estrada / Rick Porcello
Pedroia, 2B
Holt, 3B
Betts, RF
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, 1B
Bogaerts, SS
Bradley, CF
Leon, C
Benintendi, LF
These pitchers faced each other back on September 9 at Skydome. Boston won that game 13-3 and I expect (nay, I demand) more of the same tonight.

The Red Sox are two games behind the Rangers for best record in the AL with three games remaining, so Boston will likely face the Cleveland Titos in the ALDS next Thursday. As noted: "To face another opponent besides Cleveland, the Red Sox would have to sweep the Blue Jays at home this weekend and the Rangers would have to be swept in Texas by the last-place Tampa Bay Rays."

In the AL Wild Card race, the Blue Jays and Orioles are tied for the top spot(s), with the Tigers 1.5 GB and the Mariners 2 GB. The AL Wild Card game will be played next Tuesday.

Also: An image of David Ortiz has been mowed into the Fenway outfield grass.

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