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FINAL: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 3

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  September 20, 2008 03:50 PM

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LESTER GETS THROUGH SEVEN (3:22, END 7, 5-3 JAYS)
Thinking back to the second inning, when David Aardsma was up in the Sox' pen, it's pretty unreal that Lester just cruised through the seventh. He gave up a leadoff single to Rios and, with Masterson up in the bullpen, Terry Francona could have yanked Lester after 98 pitches and have a righty face Wells. But he stuck with Lester, and it paid off -- Wells grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Overbay rolled to first, and that was the inning.

SOX GO QUIETLY (3:16, MID 7, 5-3)
Halladay couldn't have done any better than Carlton, who retired Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Ortiz. The Yankees aren't cooperating, either. It's still scoreless in the eighth in New York.

LESTER IN CONTROL (3:10, END 6, 5-3 JAYS)
It didn't seem like Lester would last six innings about an hour ago, but he was at his best getting through it. He surrended a leadoff single to Thigpen, who was pushed to secon on McDonald's sac bunt. Scutaro lifted a lazy fly to Ellsbury in right, and Lester caught Bautista looking at an inside fastball for a strike out.

Lefty Jesse Carlson has replaced Halladay, who threw 106 pitches. It's got to seem like a victory to the Sox to knock out Halladay after six.

Still scoreless in New York. Brian Burres!

BACK TO NORMAL FOR DOC (3:00, MID 6, 5-3 JAYS)
Halladay retired the Sox in order, getting Crisp and Cora and then some help from Wells for the third out. Wells made a nifty, over-the-shoulder basket catch to get Varitek, who drilled one to center.

1-2-3 FOR LESTER (2:57, END 5, 5-3)
After Halladay's intricate escape, Lester plowed through his fifth inning easily, retiring three straight.

As Amalie Benjamin just pointed out in the press box, who could have guessed Halladay-Lester would be 5-3 in the fifth and Aceves (and Bruney)-Burres would be 0-0 in the seventh? Strange game. Orioles-Yankes still scoreless.

SOX LOAD BASES, COME UP EMPTY (2:50, MID 5, 5-3)
Some great at bats went for naught when Halladay escaped a two-out Boston rally. Halladay kept cruising along, retiring Ellsbury on a chopper and Pedroia on a fly to deep right, until Ortiz put together a great at bat, fouling several pitches away and drawing a walk on 3-2. It kept the inning alive and brought to the plate Youkilis, who flared a single to right. Halladay uncorked a wild pitch on a 0-2 count to Bay, which put Bay in a position to tie the score with a base hit.

Halladay threw a curveball just outside, which Bay checked his swing on. Halladay threw another curve, in the dirt, to run the count full. Halladay rifled a 91-mph cutter, which Bay fouled back. Halladay tried another curve, which Bay turned on and drove foul. Halladay went with a cutter on the edge of the plate outside and barely low; Bay looked at it for ball four. A great at bat that gave Lowrie a chance to get the Sox back in the game.

Halladay threw Lowrie two quick strikes. Lowrie fouled off the next pitch, then barely checked his swing on a curve in the dirt. He fouled off a fastball, then looked a ball two. Finally, after making so many big pitches in the inning, Hallday got a Red Sox to swing and miss -- Lowrie swung through a 91-mph cutter, and the Blue Jays escaped.

LESTER HANGS IN, MASTERSON WARMS(2:31, END 4, 5-3)
After Halladay and Lester forgot who they were for a few innings, we've seen the pitchers duel we expected the game to be. Lester got groundball outs from McDonald and Scutaro before Bautista got a cheapie, chopping the ball off home plate and sky high; Cora had no chance when it finally came down around the middle of the infield. Lester walked Rios, which brought Justin Masterson to his feet in the Sox 'pen. Lester wiggled out of the inning. inducing a pop to short by Wells. He's thrown 77 pitches, 44 strikes.

HALLADAY SAILS (2:20, MID 4, 5-3)
That half inning took four minutes -- a grounder to third by Crisp, a lazy fly to left-center by Cora, and a dribbler back to Halladay by Varitek. Despite last inning's fireworks, a two-run deficit against Hallady will not be easily surmounted.

LESTER SETTLS (2:17, END 3, 5-3)
Jon Lester finally resembled the ace he's become lately. He struck out the first two batters, Scott Rolen on a nice curveball and an inside fastball to Kevin Mench. Thigpen rolled to Lowrie, and we had our first 1-2-3 inning of the day.

It's still scoreless in New York.

SOX ON THE BOARD (2:10, MID 3, 5-3)
The Red Sox answered the Jays' four-run outburst with a surge of their own. highlighted by Bay's two-run homer. Dustin Pedroia started things when he ripped a double to right down the line with one out. Ortiz followed and shot a single through the middle, scoring Pedroia. Youkilis flied to right, which brought up Bay with two outs. He crushed one to left, his ninth homer with the Sox and 31st of the year. He also now has 100 RBs in total.

A MISTAKE AND AN ESCAPE (1:59, END 2, 5-0 JAYS)
An ugly inning only got uglier, but it could have been worse. Rios grounded to Cora's backhand. Cora made the play and, instead of going to first, fired home, a very risky and, in this case, foolish play. Cora is usually as dependable as they come, but this was the wrong choice. The ball, which likely would not have beat Scutaro, anyway, bounced off Scutaro and rolled to the Red Sox dugout, pushing runners to first and second. Cora tossed his glove to himself and shook his head afterward.

Lester intentionally walked Wells to get the double play back in order, and that's just what he got from Overbay -- a 4-6-3 job that kept the Red Sox within striking distance (maybe, considering Halladay is hurling) and kept Lester on the mound -- David Aardsma had begun throwing in the bullpen. Lester has allowed five hits.

JAYS ROUGH UP LESTER (1:54, BOT 2, 4-0 JAYS)
Lester, who has been dominant lately, is struggling right now. He loaded the baes by allowing a single to Scott Rolen, walking Kevin Mench, and hitting John McDonald with a pitch. Curtis Thigpen sacrificed before McDonald's plunking, so Lester still could have gotten out of it with a double play ball to Scutaro. Instead, Scutaro ripped his second hit today, a double to left, which plated two runs. Bautista followed with another single, which scored McDonald to make it 4-0.

As for the Red Sox' other games they need in order to clinch today: The Orioles' Brian Burres and his 6.22 ERA has held the Yankees to one hit through four innings, and it's scoreless in New York.

CRISP GETS ON, STAYS ON (1:42, MID 2, 0-0)
Coco Crisp's one-out single turned into nothing when Alex Cora flew out to left field and Halladay struck out Varitek swinging at a 93-mph fastball. It seems like Halladay is settling in, never a good sign for the opposing lineup.

Also, failed to mention this last inning: Ellsbury now has an 11-game streak hitting streak, during which he is currently batting .340.

JAYS STRIKE EARLY (1:32, END 1, 1-0 JAYS)
Alex Rios' RBI single gave the Blue Jays the game's first run. Marco Scutaro led off with a walk, then moved to second on Jose Bautista's weak grounder to Pedroia. Rios laced a Jon Lester offering to left, plating Scutaro. Lester struck out Vernon Wells, then got Lyle Overbay to loft a 78-mph slider to center field.

HALLADAY SHUTS DOWN RALLY (1:21, MID 1, 0-0)
You don't get many chances against Roy Halladay, and the Red Sox just squandered a great one. Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second, followed by a walk to Dustin Pedroia -- only the 36th Halladay has issued this season in his 33 starts. David Ortiz sent Ellsbury to third with a deep fly to right field. Youkilis, with a chance for an RBI, struck out on rather filthy curveball. That left the job to Canadian Jason Bay, who lined a 3-2 pitch to left field.

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