Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Red Sox wait out Toronto

Bats come alive after Jays starter Lilly exits

There was no relief Under the Toscan Bullpen last night.

Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca kept bringing them (relievers) in and taking them out. Once starter Ted Lilly was yanked with two outs in the sixth after he'd struck out 10, not long after he'd allowed a mammoth two-run tying home run to Manny Ramirez, it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox got the better of the embattled Toronto relief corps for the second straight night.

While it was a Martinez who earned the decision in a 5-2 Red Sox win, which moved them 1 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees in the American League East, it was Anastacio, making his major league debut with one scoreless inning of relief, who got the victory, not Pedro, who left a 2-2 game after six innings.

You can credit Mark Bellhorn twice. Once, for weakening Lilly by lining a single off his left leg in the sixth, producing a golf ball-sized knot, and then for driving in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded single through the shortstop hole in the seventh off lefthanded reliever Jason Kershner.

"I think it affected [Lilly]," said Tosca of Bellhorn's shot. "He said he was fine. He wanted to try to get through it. He was pitching a fabulous game. Tremendous. Good curveball, nice fastball, it's unfortunate."

Lilly denied that the injury affected how he pitched to Ramirez, but he did concede that it stiffened up on him and he would have been unable to come out for the seventh. "I was just looking for something to drive up the middle," said Bellhorn. "I hit him in the right spot. It looked like it stung him pretty good. I know he tried to stay out there."Ramirez spoke only briefly about his second big home run in as many nights. He said with a big smile as he was leaving the clubhouse that he was "just trying to make good contact." Lilly had retired Ramirez on a first-inning double play and fourth-inning strikeout. The Sox slugger had entered the game hitting .467 (7 for 15, two home runs) against Lilly. With the count 1 and 1, Lilly did exactly what Micheal Nakamura had done the night before -- he left a lazy breaking pitch over the plate that Ramirez turned around in a hurry. It was Ramirez's 11th home run of the season and 358th of his career, tying Yogi Berra for 62d on the all-time list.

Rookie Kevin Youkilis started the seventh by reaching on an infield single to third base and advanced when David McCarty battled for a walk. Pokey Reese showed bunt, probably when he shouldn't have, and bunted foul for a third strike. Manager Terry Francona had a word with Reese after he returned to the dugout, an indication the bunt sign probably wasn't given with two strikes. Not a problem.

Johnny Damon singled sharply to right as third base coach Dale Sveum held up Youkilis to load the bases with one out. That's when Bellhorn found the shortstop hole for the go-ahead run.

"I just didn't get the job done there," said Reese. "I was on my own, and I just couldn't get it down."

Veteran Terry Adams helped the Jays escape further trouble when he got Kevin Millar to ground into a double play to end the inning, but the Sox added insurance in the eighth. After Ramirez and Jason Varitek singled with nobody out, David Ortiz drove in Ramirez with a single to center. Ortiz came home on a two-out passed ball.

Sox relievers pitched three scoreless innings, one each from Anastacio Martinez, Alan Embree, and Keith Foulke, who earned his ninth save. The question with Pedro Martinez, who occasionally registered 91-92 miles per hour on the radar gun, was whether his curveball would be effective in the cold weather.

"I didn't feel that comfortable," said Martinez. "But I got out there earlier than normal. I threw a little bit more. Everything pretty much clicked. I have been trying to figure out what to do when it's cooler."

The Jays jumped in front with a pair of third-inning runs. After Orlando Hudson doubled, Frank Menechino's liner to right was misplayed by Gabe Kapler, who got a poor jump on the ball and also turned the wrong way as it bounded near the Mohegan Sun sign for a triple. Martinez struck out leadoff man Reed Johnson, but Eric Hinske singled, plating Menechino.

It was not a night conducive to offense. The crowd was bundled up as if it were a late-November football game at Gillette Stadium rather than a late-May game at Fenway. Through six, Martinez had thrown 107 pitches, and after the Sox scored twice in the bottom of the inning to tie it, he gave way to Anastacio Martinez.

"I think he could have gone out there for another [inning]," Francona said of Pedro Martinez. "I was tempted to send him out there for another one. But it's a long year and I kind of wanted to start the kid off with a clean inning."

Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives