Sports

MLB

Jays wrap Boston series with 3-1 victory

By Ken Fidlin, Toronto Sun

Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his three-run home run with Jose Reyes #7 against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning at Fenway Park on September 7, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images/AFP)

Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates his three-run home run with Jose Reyes #7 against the Boston Red Sox in the fifth inning at Fenway Park on September 7, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images/AFP)

BOSTON  - 

One step forward, two steps back.

That defines the Blue Jays’ weekend at Fenway Park but it also represents the trajectory of their season.

The Blue Jays got back in the win column Sunday with a 3-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox but the sting of two one-run losses Friday and Saturday remains. At a time of the season when they have little or no margin for error, those games could represent the tipping point for their slender playoff hopes.

Sunday’s win completes a 4-2 road trip that began with a sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays. Four wins in six games would normally constitute a more than acceptable road swing within the division but with just 20 games remaining in which to make up considerable ground in the wild-card playoff race, every loss is huge. They begin with three games at home against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

“You’ve got to take the positives out of the road trip,” said R.A. Dickey, who levelled his record at 12-12 for the season, working into the eighth inning, allowing six hits and just the one run.

“Four and two is nice. I’ve always said that we need to get to 90 wins somehow to have a shot. I know that’s a tall order but it’s not impossible. We have to keep grinding it out and take advantage of teams who are not high up in the standings. We’ve got to win those types of games. We’ve got to do a good job against Chicago because any team at this level can sneak up and make you remember that you’re not as good as you think you are.”

Coupled with the two losses in Boston is the additional trauma of losing their most productive hitter when Melky Cabrera broke a finger on his right hand in Friday’s game. He is lost for the rest of the season.

“Extremely disappointing,” said Jose Bautista of Cabrera’s loss. “We’re certainly going to miss him in the lineup. Hopefully the guys who replace him will step up and make a name for themselves and help us win some games.”

This win in the series finale came on one swing of Bautista’s bat. That came in the top of the fifth inning when, with two aboard, Bautista launched his 31st home run of the season off Boston’s rookie starter Rubby De La Rosa.

“Today’s win could have ended a 6-0 road trip,” said Bautista. “But you’re going to lose games during the season, even ones you think you should have won. We’ll just look at those two as that kind of loss. We need to focus on the ones we have coming up.”

It also made a winner out of Dickey. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out four.

“He gave us what we needed today,” said manager John Gibbons. “This is such a tough place to pitch, especially if you’re a flyball guy and you’ve got that short left field to deal with. He really took that out of play.”

Casey Janssen, victimized in extra innings in Friday’s devastating 9-8 loss in which Toronto blew two late leads, came on in the bottom of the ninth Sunday to secure his 22nd save with a three-up, three-down inning that included two strikeouts.

Neither starting pitcher yielded anything through the first four innings, though both teams had their chances. The Blue Jays loaded up the bases in the third inning without success and also left two on in the fourth. The Red Sox had two on, none out in the second inning but Dickey took out the next three batters in a line.

In the fifth, though, the Jays took the lead with authority. After Anthony Gose walked to lead off, Jose Reyes singled to centre. When centre fielder Jackie Bradley let the ball get past him, Gose moved up to third and Reyes went to second on the attempt to get Gose at third.

De La Rosa fell behind 2-0 on Bautista, then turned and watched as his third offering was redirected right out of the stadium, far over the famed left field Green Monster for Bautista’s 31st home run of the season to give Toronto a 3-0 advantage.

“I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit,” said Bautista. “I was seeing the ball good off of him. He elevated a slider ... he hung it and I’m sure that’s not what he wanted. I was able to take advantage.”

The Red Sox got one run back in the sixth. Daniel Nava doubled into the left-centre gap to lead off. Two outs later, he scored from third on a Xander Bogaerts single to left.

After De La Rosa left the game, the Sox went to Steven Wright, the only knuckleballer other than Dickey, active in the big leagues. From the fifth through the eighth innings (when Dickey left the game) it was all knuckleballs, all the time.

 

 

 


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »