TORONTO - Jon Lester was superb through the first six innings on Sunday, allowing the Toronto Blue Jays just one hit. But after getting two outs in the seventh inning, things unraveled for the Boston Red Sox left-hander.
He gave up three hits, including a run-scoring single by Omar Vizquel and a two-run homer by Adeiny Hechavarria, and the Blue Jays went on for a 5-0 victory to avoid a three-game sweep before 21,698 at Rogers Centre.
"I just left a curveball middle-up," Lester said. "Vizquel has been around for a long time and didn't try to do too much with it and got a base knock.
"Next pitch, right back to executing, did what I had to do and [Hechavarria] put a better swing on it. It's baseball. You make a great pitch, they hit it. You make a pitch right down the middle, they hit it right to somebody. It's just the way it goes sometimes."
Lester (9-12) was done for the day after seven innings. He allowed four hits, one walk and three runs while striking out seven.
"He was dominating today," said Vizquel who also had a double in the second inng. "We couldn't really get to him. We got very few opportunities."
The opportunity came when Yan Gomes singled with two out in the seventh and Rajai Davis ran for him and stole second.
"I came up there in the fifth with a situation where I was supposed to bunt and I couldn't do it," Vizquel said. "We had another opportunity and I came up again and Davis got that base and I came up with that big hit and Hechavarria did the rest. It was a good win overall."
The hit put Vizquel into a tie with Jesse Burkett for 42nd all-time with 2,872 hits, one short of Babe Ruth who is 41st.
"Well- pitched game through the first six innings really, on both sides," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Nothing happening offensively. Then we get a two-out base hit in the seventh by Gomes. And as we've seen many times before, when Rajai gets on the bases, he can make a lot of things happen.
"And the way Omar's swinging the bat, he continues to creep towards a major milestone. He's a hit away from tying Babe Ruth. And just a big day from him overall. Hech kind of surprised everybody in the ballpark with a two-run homer."
Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow did not factor in the decision after pitching six scoreless innings. He held the Red Sox to four hits and a walk. The right-hander had thrown 102 pitches when he was removed in favor of left-hander Brett Cecil.
Brandon Lyon (3-0) picked up the win in relief.
"We fired a lot of blanks with men on base today," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "We had some chances. Morrow made some really good pitches on the outside part of the plate with his fastball. He did a good job to get out of it. We kept battling, just couldn't get them across the plate for Jonny."
In the first four innings, Boston twice had two runners on base, but Morrow stranded them each time.
Dustin Pedroia singled and Jacoby Ellsbury walked with one out in the first, and Cody Ross singled to lead off the fourth and went to second on a one-out single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. But the Red Sox couldn't produce.
Meanwhile, Lester overcame a leadoff double in the third by Vizquel.
The Blue Jays had a threat in the fifth after Moises Sierra led off with a walk. Sierra took second on a throwing error by Lester on a bunt by Gomes. The pitcher had an easy force out at second available on the play, but his throw went into center field. Lester worked out of it with two strikeouts and a groundout.
Cecil took over from Morrow to start the seventh and struck out his only batter, Saltalamacchia, before Lyon took over and pitched two-thirds of an inning.
Toronto's second hit of the game was a two-out single in the seventh by Gomes.
"I've got to keep looking at those positives and just keep plugging away," Lester said. "Just keep working those things and try to pitch as many innings as I can every time I take the ball. The rest will...I shouldn't say take care of itself but that's all I can really control is taking the ball every five days and seeing what happens when I go out there."
Left-hander Darren Oliver took over in the eighth for Toronto and gave up two one-out singles before ending the inning when Ross hit into a double play.
Daniel Bard took over for Boston in the eighth and allowed a leadoff double to Brett Lawrie and a run-scoring single to Colby Rasmus, who took second on an error by left-fielder Ryan Kalish.
The Blue Jays picked up another run in the inning on a single by Sierra against Scott Atchison.
Vizquel could tie or surpass Ruth's career hit totals when the Blue Jays play a three-game series at Yankee Stadium starting Tuesday.
"Not even in my wildest dreams was I going to think that you can bring the name of Babe Ruth next to mine and compare it with hits and other things there have been in my career," Vizquel said. "When I started the season I wasn't really thinking about numbers. I was just trying to go out there and finish my career strong."
Farrell was asked whether he will give Vizquel the chance.
"I'd be crazy not to," Farrell said. "Given today's performance with two more hits. For him to tie if possible in New York will be very fitting."
Notes: Edwin Encarnacion was out of the Blue Jays lineup with a sore toe. ...Catcher Jeff Mathis was a late scratch from the Blue Jays lineup because of flu-like symptoms. ... Shortstop Yunel Escobar also was out with flu-like symptoms. ...The Red Sox clinched the three-game series with Saturday's 3-2 win, their first series win on the road since July 27-29 at Yankee Stadium. ...Aaron Cook (3-01, 5.18 ERA) will start for Boston on Monday against Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb (9-8, 4.26 ERA).
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!
|Best of Yardbarker||NFL News||MLB News||NBA News||NHL News|
Today's Best Stuff