BOSTON -- Another disputed call from an umpire had the Blue Jays' clubhouse up in arms following Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Red Sox.
Toronto believed it had tied the game in the ninth inning, when Edwin Encarnacion rounded third and appeared to avoid Jason Varitek's tag to knot things up, but home-plate umpire Brian Knight called Encarnacion out to end the game.
"We should still be playing right now," said manager John Farrell, who was visibly frustrated following the game. "That play is right in front of Brian Knight.
"It was clear that Edwin did a good job sliding around the plant leg of 'Tek, but his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now, we should be out on that field playing."
The Blue Jays entered the top of the ninth inning trailing by three with Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon in the game.
Papelbon was greeted with a leadoff single, which was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of Jose Bautista. Bautista's 28th shot of the season came on a towering fly that went over the Green Monster and cut the lead to one.
The Blue Jays continued to apply pressure by putting runners on first and second with two out for John McDonald. Toronto's shortstop fell behind 0-2 before looping a single into shallow left field.
Boston's Darnell McDonald charged the ball and fired a bullet to home plate. Varitek was blocking the plate with his left leg, but he appeared to initially miss Encarnacion with his swipe tag.
As Encarnacion's front leg crashed into the catcher, his body twisted around and his right foot swept across home plate. Knight was in perfect position to make the call and raised his right fist to call Encarnacion out.
Toronto's dugout couldn't view the play, because Encarnacion's body was obstructing the sightline, but after watching the replay in the clubhouse, Farrell was left stunned.
"After the replay, absolutely, because again, from our vantage point, Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate," Farrell said.
"But the wide margin which he missed the tag, [I'm] a little bit surprised that the call went that way."
That wasn't how the play was viewed in Boston's clubhouse, though.
"It's the end of the game, I'm just trying to stay in there," said Varitek. "Darnell made a very good throw -- a perfect throw. It saved us the game."
Encarnacion declined to comment on the bang-bang play.
It's the latest in a series of close calls that have gone against the Blue Jays. There was the extra-innings game on April 9 in Anaheim where Toronto's go-ahead run was called off because of runner interference on Yunel Escobar.
Then there was Travis Snider beating out a bunt but being called out in the ninth inning of a game against Tampa Bay on April 23. That would have loaded the bases with nobody out and put the Blue Jays in position to win a two-run game.
The latest incident, prior to Tuesday night, occurred on Saturday afternoon, when an inconsistent strike zone led to an extra Philadelphia run and a livid Jon Rauch being ejected from the game.
"I wouldn't say it's bad luck," Farrell said of the rulings. "It's what's been called, so we have to continue to handle the things that we can control, and that is put on a finish like we did tonight. Again, we should still be playing."
Toronto's late-inning rally overshadowed an otherwise quiet night at the plate. Boston starter Jon Lester was masterful during his first four innings of work, but he was forced to leave before the top of the fifth inning with a strained lower latissimus muscle.
Boston's No. 1 starter didn't allow a hit and issued just one walk during his brief outing. He turned things over to the bullpen with a 3-0 lead, and despite the change, the Blue Jays' bats couldn't get going.
Right-hander Matt Albers entered the game for Boston and retired the first five batters he faced. With two outs in the sixth, left fielder Corey Patterson drew a walk in a tough 11-pitch at-bat. Bautista followed with a single to left field for Toronto's first hit.
Patterson then ran the Blue Jays out of the inning by getting caught trying to steal third base. Patterson left second before Albers released the ball, and Boston's reliever simply stepped off the mound and threw to third base to easily record the final out.
"That was a poor decision, a poor decision to try to make something happen when we've got really the only rally, or anything really started, to that point in time in the game," Farrell said. "Your four-hole hitter up. That was a poor decision."
Left-hander Brett Cecil took the loss despite recording the first complete game of his career. The 24-year-old allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out six in eight innings. It was the sixth time in Cecil's career that he has thrown eight innings.
The majority of Cecil's problems occurred during the bottom of the second. He allowed a pair of doubles to David Ortiz and Varitek to give Boston an early 1-0 lead.
Right fielder J.D. Drew followed later in the inning with an RBI single that went off the outstretched glove of second baseman Mike McCoy and into right field. The play was originally ruled an error but was changed later in the game.
There were more problems in the third. Cecil served up a 1-2 four-seam fastball that second baseman Dustin Pedroia sent over the Green Monster to increase Boston's lead to 3-0. It was Pedroia's eighth home run of the year and the sixth Cecil has allowed in six outings this season.
Cecil continued on and allowed just one more baserunner to reach scoring position the rest of the game. He has now pitched at least 6 1/3 innings in both starts since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.
"Not a nine-inning complete game, but a complete game nonetheless," Cecil said. "That's the thing I love about John, he knows if a pitcher is deserving of a win ... he's going to run him back out there, and I'm extremely happy he did.
"I love the chance to get out there and pitch well and get a chance to get a win, and it's nice when a manager tries to do everything he can to assure that happens."