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Jays err, Sox win

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  September 19, 2008 11:47 PM

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TORONTO -- Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes. Coach always said they could cost you the game.

In this case, the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays both made mistakes on Friday. But Toronto's proved bigger.

Facing both a 2-0 deficit and a nasty A.J. Burnett, the Red Sox rallied for a 4-3 victory at Rogers Centre on Friday night in a game that trimmed Boston's magic number for a playoff spot to 2. The Red Sox scored three runs during a fifth inning rally that featured a rather critical mental error by Blue Jays shortstop Marco Scutaro, who foolishly tried to deny the Red Sox one run and ended up giving them three.

Allow us to explain.

With Jason Varitek (squib double) on third and one out, Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia ripped a wicked one-hopper to short that Scutrao snared, moving no more than a step to his right. Though Scutaro easily could have had Pedroia at first for the second out of the inning - the Jays led 2-0 at the time - he saw Varitek break late from third and threw to the plate instead.

Realizing he was a dead duck at home, Varitek reversed field and scampered back to third, where he made it safely without a throw. Pedroia ended up at safely at first.

So, instead of the Jays holding a 2-1 lead with two outs and the bases empty, Toronto held a 2-0 lead with men at first and third. Burnett then struck out David Ortiz for what should have been the third out - ``A.J. Burnett got in my head tonight, he threw me some nasty [stuff],'' said Ortiz - - before Kevin Youkilis stroked a single to center on a 3-2 pitch. (Youkilis came dangerously close to striking out on a 2-2 offering, but checked his swing.) Sean Casey then roped a Burnett fastball off the right field wall for a two-run double and the Sox had a 3-2 edge.

Thanks to Scutaro, of course.

``He's got such good stuff,'' Sox manager Terry Francona said of Burnett. ``We battled and it was enough.''

True enough.

But Scutaro opened the door, too, though the Sox may have been due for a break or two after some tough luck in the ninth inning of a 2-1 loss at Tampa on Tuesday, when the Rays' game-winning rally featured a bloop hit, a hit batsman and a phantom scalled strike.

As for the Sox, they were not without their miscues. Just before Pedroia rifled the one-hopper at Scutaro, Jacoby Ellsbury was picked off, leaning toward second on what looked like a steal attempt. Had Ellsbury still been at first when Pedroia batted, Scutaro almost certainly would have opted for the double play instead of throwing home.

Later in the game, with one out, David Ortiz (walk) was at first base when Kevin Youkilis lined to left. Ortiz forgot how many outs there were and got doubled off to end the inning, costing the Sox a baserunner at a point the game was tied at 3. Youkilis threw up his hands in frustration and Ortiz later admitted the blunder.

``I [messed] up,'' Ortiz said. ``I thought there were two outs. When I saw the outfielder try to throw the ball back in to the field, I was like, `Oh [drat].' ''

OK, so he didn't really say drat.

Fortunately, the Sox scored in the eighth to break the tie and held on for a 4-3 win.

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About Mazz

Tony Massarotti is a Globe sportswriter and has been writing about sports in Boston for the last 19 years. A lifelong Bostonian, Massarotti graduated from Waltham High School and Tufts University. He was voted the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year by his peers in 2000 and 2008 and has been a finalist for the award on several other occasions. This blog won a 2008 EPpy award for "Best Sports Blog".

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