The Red Sox had worked through four shutout innings after Jon Lester was forced out early with a left lat strain, but Jonathan Papelbon was struggling. Corey Patterson singled up the middle after taking an 0-2 pitch that looked like a strike for a ball, and then Jose Bautista did with one swing of the bat what the Jays couldn’t do all night: scored runs, bringing himself and Patterson around to score on a homer into the monster seats.
Then with one out Edwin Encarnacion singled, with two outs J.P. Arencibia walked, and suddenly, when John McDonald singled to left, the game seemed to be tied.
But Darnell McDonald played the ball on one hop, and made a strong throw home where Jason Varitek blocked the plate, and laid the tag on Edwin Encarnacion as his right leg swept around—and possibly touched—home plate. The umpire called him out, and the Sox mobbed Darnell McDonald as they took the 3-2 win Tuesday night.
It was a happy ending to a night that did not promise any. A potential no-hitter for Jon Lester turned into a night of anxiety and questions after the aforementioned injury—it now seems as though he will be out at least a couple of weeks—and somehow Brett Cecil managed to tough out eight long innings.
The runs came early for the Red Sox, as J.D. Drew followed up a pair of doubles from David Ortiz and Jason Varitek to score a pair of runs in the second, and Dustin Pedroia launched a third inning homer in the third, continuing his cleanup-style hitting from the cleanup spot.
From there, however, Cecil seemed to knuckle down. The Sox would threaten a couple more times in the game, but Cecil kept them from getting the big hit, and held them scoreless over the last five innings of the game.
Luckily, Boston’s bullpen proved up to the task, for the most part. Despite having thrown nearly seven innings in Monday’s game, the relief corps picked up the slack, with Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, and Daniel Bard combining for four scoreless innings to set up the drama with Papelbon.
The Sox will be happy for the win, but have to hope that they didn’t lose Lester for too long in the process.