Jays stun Red Sox with four-run ninth
Lewis caps comeback victory with walk-off sacrifice fly
TORONTO -- Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon doesn't blow many save opportunities -- especially against the Blue Jays.
In fact, over his six-year career, Papelbon has posted a sparkling 0.75 ERA against the Jays -- not once forfeiting a lead.
On Thursday afternoon at Rogers Centre, history was to be rewritten.
Down three runs entering the final frame, the Blue Jays used a barrage of hits, including a solo home run from Jose Bautista, and a walk-off sacrifice fly from Fred Lewis to defeat the Red Sox, 6-5, in thrilling fashion.
After cruising through eight innings while throwing just 91 pitches, the Red Sox marched starter John Lackey back out to begin the final frame. Nursing a comfortable three-run lead, Lackey worked into a deep 3-2 count against Bautista.
Bautista, touted for having a good batting eye, fouled off a cutter from the big right-hander before launching a 93-mph fastball deep into the seats in left -- his Major League-leading 36th blast of the season. In his last 20 at-bats, Bautista's only three hits have all been home runs.
"There's Bautista," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "He's a kid -- just last night when that game was out of sorts, I tried to get him to come out and rest, and he wanted to play. I have so much respect for him. He's a great kid, a great person.
"Once again, he rallied us and got us going."
Following a pitching change to bring in Papelbon, Vernon Wells built on Bautista's momentum, doubling to the right-field wall. The red-hot Adam Lind singled up the middle to score Wells and cut the lead to one.
Gaston then opted to send the speedy DeWayne Wise into the ballgame to pinch-run for Lind. Wise wasted no time, stealing second on the first pitch to put the tying run in scoring position.
"It was my decision," Wise said. "I know the last time we faced these guys and a similar situation came up, I had the red light because they wanted to let the guys hit. He's a pitcher that's slow to the plate. Right when they told me I was going in to pinch-run, I already told myself, 'First ball he throws to the plate, I'm going.'"
Still with no outs in the inning, second baseman Aaron Hill proceeded to hit a rocket that drilled Papelbon in the left foot. The infield hit put runners at first and third.
After a Travis Snider strikeout, Edwin Encarnacion doubled to knot the ballgame and send the crowd at Rogers Centre into a frenzy. With runners on second and third, pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay was intentionally walked to load the bases.
In front of the 36,271 left in attendance, Lewis hit a sacrifice fly off flamethrower Daniel Bard to score Hill and win the ballgame.
"I was just geared up for a fastball," said an enthusiastic Lewis. "I was trying to get out in front and just put the bat on the ball no matter where it went -- that was the key.
"It's something I never have done before -- a walk-off. I guess there is a first for everything. It feels good inside, and I'll try and build from that."
Lewis, who's playing time has been reduced drastically since the return of Snider from the 15-day disabled list, said his confidence has never wavered.
"I've been in this role before and I come to the park every day to play," Lewis said. "To see my name not in the lineup some days, it's mind-boggling, but still, I just come to play and try to contribute as much as possible."
Blue Jays starter Brad Mills mowed down Red Sox hitters through his first two innings of work. The young left-hander allowed just two hits and struck out four until running into trouble in the third.
Jacoby Ellsbury got the ball rolling for the Sox, singling to open the frame. Jed Lowrie then walked, putting runners on first and second. After falling behind 2-1 to Victor Martinez, Ellsbury and Lowrie instituted a successful double steal.
The risk paid off for the Red Sox, as Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Ellsbury and advance Lowrie to third. David Ortiz capped off the two-run third inning by sending a line drive to right field to score Lowrie.
The Jays were able to chip at the lead in the fourth, starting with a Bautista walk. Wells singled -- his first hit since returning from dislocating his right big toe on Wednesday -- to move Bautista to third. Lind sent the Jays' only run of the inning across by hitting into a double play.
The Sox added to their one-run lead, mashing two solo home runs -- Lowrie and Ortiz -- off Mills in the fifth.
Mills was replaced shortly thereafter by reliever David Purcey. In his last two starts, Mills has allowed nine earned runs and has been unable to reach the five-inning plateau. He was optioned to Triple-A after the contest to make room for Friday's starter Marc Rzepczynski.
Bautista hit into a double play to score Lewis in the sixth, setting the stage for the comeback in the ninth -- the Jays' second walk-off win of the season.
"It's going to be a great plane ride," said Gaston as the Jays travel to Anaheim for a three-game series. "It's a long plane ride. It's always good to win a game on a getaway day. In that fashion was great."
James Hall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.