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BOS@TOR: Rajai collects four hits, steals two bases

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays relied on a pair of Connecticut natives to complete a mini two-game sweep of their division rivals.

Rajai Davis and John McDonald may have been slotted into the eight- and nine-holes of their club's lineup, but they caused the most fits for Boston right-hander John Lackey on Wednesday night.

The pair combined to go 6-for-8 with a home run, five RBIs and four runs scored in a 9-3 victory over the Red Sox in front of 19,163 fans at Rogers Centre.

"Having two kids from a small area of Connecticut, went to the same junior college, hitting back-to-back in the lineup it's pretty nice," McDonald said.

"To have two position players out there in the field every day and say, 'Wow, I've known him for a long time,' it's different. It's not something you expect to see."

The Blue Jays got out to an early 2-1 lead before McDonald and Davis really went to work in the fourth inning.

McDonald started the frame with a solo home run on a 2-0 pitch from Lackey. It was McDonald's second home run of the season and first since his walk-off homer against Tampa Bay on April 22.

Davis followed with a single up the middle to reach first base, where he would once again cause problems on the basepaths. In Tuesday's series opener, Davis stole second and third before eventually scoring the game's winning run in extra innings.

He went with the same type of aggressiveness vs. Lackey. Davis stole two more bases and would score on a sacrifice fly to center field by Yunel Escobar.

It was Davis' fourth multisteal game of the season and he now has 10 stolen bases in his past 11 contests.

"He basically took over the inning himself and really can create some havoc on the basepaths," manager John Farrell said. "Setting all that aside, where he's at in the lineup, he can be a force, as we've seen tonight and last night as well."

Three innings later, McDonald and Davis went on the attack again. The Blue Jays took advantage of an erratic Lackey, who loaded the bases before walking David Cooper to increase Toronto's lead to 5-3.

That set the table for McDonald, who doubled down the left-field line to score two additional runs. He finished the night 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

Lackey was removed from the game following that at-bat, which prompted some harsh words directed towards Toronto's infielder after the game.

"Everybody has had success with him in the past, let's be honest," Lackey said of Toronto's utility man. "You can't give up hits to him when you've got other guys in that lineup that can hurt you."

Davis greeted reliever Tim Wakefield with a two-run single to right. That marked Davis' fourth hit of the night and closed the book on Lackey, who was charged with all nine runs on nine hits while walking five over 6 2/3 innings.

The 30-year-old Davis is now 6-for-9 with two RBIs, three runs, a triple and four stolen bases over his past two games. That type of success has allowed him to use his speed on the basepaths more regularly.

"For me, it's more instincts," Davis said. "I've gained a lot of experience at this level stealing bases. What are they giving me? Are they giving me the base or are they making me work for it? It just comes down to that particular pitcher, and I kind of go off what they are feeding me."

The Blue Jays' successful approach at the plate allowed right-hander Jesse Litsch to win for the third time in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Litsch surrendered one run in the first inning before pitching his way into trouble in the sixth. He allowed a pair of solo home runs to Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz before departing with a 4-3 lead.

The Florida native used increased velocity on his cut-fastball to keep the Red Sox hitters off-balance for most of his outing. He allowed just six hits while walking one and throwing 66 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

"Since coming back from Las Vegas, he has put together some solid outings," Farrell said of Litsch, who has a 3.44 ERA at home this season. "I think the number of 3-2 pitches that he executed without giving up a walk, one turned into a double play, another turned into a strikeout, he doesn't lose focus and concentration."

"He had good stuff, he used his fastball effectively, showed a little increase in velocity. He did another good job."

The Blue Jays have now scored 21 runs in their past three games. That's the same total the team scored over an eight-game span from April 30 to May 8.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign from that production is that the team is finding ways to score without always relying on Jose Bautista and Adam Lind. It has been a well-balanced attack.

It also comes on the heels of a series in which they won just one of four games at home against Detroit.

"I think this is the way we expect ourselves to play," McDonald said. "No one in this locker room was happy with the way we played against Detroit. Our execution obviously wasn't where it needs to be.

"When all facets of your game aren't working, it's ugly baseball. You need to take games like that, discard them and come back like we did yesterday. I think everybody had the same feeling we wanted to repeat what we did yesterday and we did that." Comments