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September 3, 2007
Final: Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 10
BOSTON -- There was plenty of bad news for the Red Sox on Monday night -- giving up all but one run of a 10-1 lead in the sixth, the disconcerting recent ineffectiveness of Daisuke Matsuzaka, shaky outings from many members of the relief corps until Jonathan Papelbon restored order with a 1-2-3 ninth -- and, Red Sox Nation being what it is, it's safe to say those will be the main topics of conversation from now until the first pitch Tuesday night.
Lost in all of this? The fact that the Sox are marching inexorably toward the A.L. East championship.
Monday night's 13-10 victory increased their lead over the suddenly-struggling-again Yankees back to seven games, and lowered their magic number for clinching the division title to 18. Which is to say, any combination of Boston victories and New York defeats totalling 18 will give the Red Sox the championship.
A three-run homer by Mike Lowell, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games, gave the Sox a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first, and it was a lead they never relinquished . . . try as they might.
And try they did. After his teammates had made it 5-1 with two in the third, then 10-1 with five in the fourth, Matsuzaka cruised into the top of the sixth with a 10-1 lead. But he never got out of the inning, and his first replacement, Javier Lopez, was no better. By the time Manny Delcarmen recorded the final out, eight Toronto runs had scored -- and the tying run was perched on third -- and the Jays had closed to 10-9.
The Sox got four of them right back in the bottom of the sixth, making it 13-9, but Toronto scored off Delcarmen in the seventh. Hideki Okajima (working for the second straight day) and Mike Timlin danced in and out of trouble, but got the game into Papelbon's hands in the ninth at 13-10.
He took it from there, striking out two of the three batters he faced in recording his 32nd save.
Get the box score and the scoring details here.
Posted by Art Martone at 11:07 PM | Permalink
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Pregame Notes, Sept. 3
-- Tim Wakefield (back) played catch, including a little long toss, and also simulated his motion in a bit of flat-ground pitching from a shortened distance this afternoon. Wakefield, who missed his start last Friday because of a sore back, pronounced himself fit enough to throw a side session tomorrow and expects to make his next scheduled start, Thursday night in Baltimore.
Wakefield, meanwhile, has been voted the Red Sox player of the month for August, when he went 4-1 with a .245 earned-run average.
-- Eric Gagne played some catch yesterday for the first time in a few days. The right-hander has been bothered by tendinitis in his right shoulder, the result, he and the Sox' staff think, of throwing too often over a week-and-a-half period in an attempt to correct a few mechanical flaws in his delivery. He's still not likely to pitch in a game for while, needing to at least throw a few bullpen sessions, if not a simulated game or two before returning.
-- Doug Mirabelli is away from the team for what manager Terry Francona called a "serious issue" with his family. It's possible he'll be able to catch Wakefield on Thursday, but Francona isn't etching that plan in stone.
-- Manny Ramirez (oblique) was working out on an elliptical machine in the team's workout room this afternoon, but there's still no word as to when the Sox slugger will be able to return to the lineup. He has been on the sidelines since having to leave last Tuesday night's game in New York.
-- Kevin Youkilis, who fanned four times Sunday, is getting a breather from the starting lineup tonight. Eric Hinske is starting.
-- Craig Breslow's stay with Boston was brief. The left-handed reliever was called up from Pawtucket on Friday and optioned back to the PawSox after Sunday's game.
-- Francona said he still isn't ready to reveal the organization's plans for Clay Buchholz, who threw a no-hitter Saturday night against the Orioles. The rookie right-hander is nearing the team's innings limit, but how well Wakefield comes through his side session tomorrow could affect Boston's plans for Buchholz.
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:20 PM | Permalink
Starting Lineups, Sept. 3
-- Steven Krasner
Posted by Steven Krasner at 4:18 PM | Permalink