Game over: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4
Disappointing game for the Sox, who led, 4-2, entering the eighth inning. They had been 74-3 leading after seven innings this season. But the late-season meltdown of Daniel Bard cost them the game.
That's six losses in the last seven games and eight in the last 10. The Sox now lead the Rays by 3.5 games pending the result of Tampa Bay's game tonight.
Ricky Romero (15-10) was the winner and Bard (2-8) the loser before a crowd of 37,087.
Back in a while with a report from the clubhouse.
Middle of the 9th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4
1-2-3 inning for Papelbon, who hasn't allowed a run in 21 innings. Frank Francisco in to try and close it out for Romero, who allowed three earned runs over eight innings against a team that usually crushes him.
Top of the 9th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4
1-2-3 inning for Romero, who has hung in there.
Bard since Aug. 1: 15.2 IP, 12 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 7 BB, 9 K
Bard since Sept. 1: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 5 BB, 5 K
Papelbon in now.
Middle of the 8th: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4
Bard is a mess. He walked Encarnacion and Johnson on nine pitches. Teahen then bunted and Bard's throw was wild, loading the bases. Arencibia grounded to third, Youkilis dropped the ball, and settled for an out at first as a run scored. It could have been a double play.
Loewen then singled in two runs. McCoy ended the inning with a 4-3-5 double play as Anderson made a throw to third to get Loewen trying to advance.
No word yet as to why Gonzalez is out. Six errors in this game, meanwhile.
Top of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2
The Sox went in order. Bard in for the 8th inning. Could Papelbon get his first save since Aug. 18 today?
Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2
Outside of walking Bautista, an easy inning for the invaluable Alfredo Aceves.
Top of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2
Gonzalez homered to right, his first at Fenway since July 7 and No. 26 of the season to go with 110 RBIs. He did not come to play defense after the inning, however. Lars Anderson is in. Something happened.
Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
That was quite an inning. Lawrie walked, stole second, and took third when the throw went into center field. Lackey then got Arencibia on a line drive to shallow center. With Lackey at 115 pitches, Morales came in.
Loewen grounded to second and Lawrie broke for the plate. Pedroia fired to Varitek and he held on when Loewen ran him over. Morales then picked off Loewen to end the inning.
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
McDonald singled. But Ellsbury fouled out and Scutaro grounded into a double play. Obviously FranCOMA (get it? get it?) is to blame. Or the Boy Wonder. Or the training staff. Maybe that soccer-loving John Henry. Somebody must pay.
Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
No wisecracks now. John Lackey is getting the job done. Bautista and Lind had singles with one out. But Encarnacion lined to left and Johnson grounded to first to end the inning. It hasn't been clean and pretty. But two runs over five innings is sold gold compared to what their starters gave them the previous six games.
Top of the 5th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
Lavarnway reached on an error (Toronto's third on the day) but that was that. Lots of empty seats here today. I mean lots. Bad day for the scalpers. What a shame.
Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
Lacked worked around a Scutaro error. On his way off the field he said to the shortstop, "Everybody makes mistakes, Marco. We all try our best out there. You'll get 'em next time, pal." Or something like that.
Top of the 4th: Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 2
Ellsbury led off the inning with a triple to right field, extending his hit streak to 18 games. He has 74 extra-base hits this season. Scutaro followed with a line drive to left for a sacrifice fly. He has 16 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Middle of the 3d: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 2
Encarnacion singled but that was it for Toronto. Lackey has retired seven of the last nine batters he has faced. So maybe he won't be sent to Nevada to learn the casino business from Mo Green.
Top of the 3d: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 2
In their quest to score 18 again, the Sox started with two in the second. The Laser Show singled before Youkilis singled to center. Loewen bobbled the ball and Pedroia took third.
Lavarnway followed with a grounder to shortstop that the third baseman, Lawrie, decided to field and kicked instead. Pedroia scored. It was ruled an error, then a fielder's choice and an error. To me, it's just an error. But Lavarnay was given an RBI.
A wild pitch moved the runners up. Varitek grounded to second to score Youkilis.
Josh Reddick is not playing today. But it's worth mentioning that his walk-up song is the theme music for the wrestler Triple H. That's pretty awesome.
Middle of the 2d: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1
Loewen had a single but that was it for the Jays.
Top of the 2d: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0
Scutaro (17 of his last 35) doubled with one out. Gonzalez then hit a liner up the middle. McCoy, playing shifted over, caught the ball and dove to second to double off Scutaro.
Middle of the 1st: Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 0
The answer to "Who was the worst free agent ever signed by Theo Epstein?" isn't Julio Lugo anymore.
Lackey was well, Lackey in the first inning. Thames singled. Lackey then pitched around Bautista, walking him on four pitches because he thinks this is five years ago and he'll just get the next two guys. Lind flied to center, but Encarnacion and Johnson had RBI singles.
Last 17 innings for Lackey: 17 earned runs on 23 hits and 11 walks. And he's in the rotation instead of Andrew Miller, which tells you what they think of him.
Pregame: Good afternoon from Fenway Park, where the Red Sox have a matinee against the Blue Jays. Fan favorite John Lackey will be facing Ricky Romero.
It's the final game of the year against the Jays. Hang out here for updates, kill time at work commenting and wherever you are, enjoy the game.