TORONTO -- Alfredo Aceves wrote a short note to manager Bobby Valentine before Monday's 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays that had one key word: Trust.
Even after Aceves failed to record a single out in his first two games as Boston's closer, Aceves still trusted himself, and he wanted to make sure his manager also did.
Valentine reassured Aceves that he would get the ball again if the Red Sox had the lead in the ninth inning -- and he did.
This time, Aceves worked a 1-2-3 ninth and the Red Sox were in the win column after dropping their first three.
"I just said, 'Trust' [in the note to Valentine]," said Aceves. "We're going to still trust. The last three games against Detroit, everything was negative. You guys [in the media], you're doing the best that you can. But we stick together, and one of the things is trust. Whatever you do, just trust."
Aceves' ERA might be 27.00, but it sure beats the infinity dashes he had going into the game.
"Well, like [hitting coach] Dave Magadan said, he's got an ERA now," quipped Valentine. "You know, he came in, he threw pretty much the same pitches. They were all quality -- up in the zone, away in the zone. His breaking ball was really good. His fastball was crisp. Before the game, he wrote me a little note and talked about trust. I told him I trusted him. He knew he was going to have the ball."
After his two nightmares in Detroit, the latter of which had come on Sunday afternoon when he squandered a three-run lead in seven pitches, Aceves carved up the Blue Jays.
"We all thought he would make a great closer once they named him because of that, because he's got a great mindset," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "He's got a great gameplan when he's on the mound, he knows how to pitch, he knows what he's doing out there. He executes. The last two games were two things you won't see too often from him."
Atchison steps up with three scoreless innings
TORONTO -- Scott Atchison is the reliever everyone forgets about every season. Yet he somehow finds away to keep resurfacing with the Red Sox.
For the second time in three years, Atchison won a job in Spring Training. And on Monday night, he proved why.
Coming on in relief of Felix Doubront, the veteran righty gave the Red Sox three stellar innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out three.
With the Red Sox coming back to defeat the Blue Jays, 4-2, Atchison earned the win.
"I've got no complaints. I'll pitch however much is needed, whatever is needed, whenever," Atchison said. "I feel like that's my value where I'm most valuable. Tonight, [manager Bobby Valentine] felt like I could go three. Then we went ahead and [Alfredo Aceves] was able to get it going like we know he can. I'll be ready to pitch whenever he wants me."
It was reminiscent of the performance turned in by Vicente Padilla on Sunday, as he reeled off four strong innings in Detroit.
"I think what works best for me is just to try to attack the strike zone," said Atchison. "I tried to do that tonight and was successful with it. From there, you can kind of expand on them and get ahead."
Ortiz's surprise sneak attack nearly worked
TORONTO -- You weren't seeing things. David Ortiz really did try to steal second base in the top of the seventh inning on Monday night, the Red Sox down by a run.
It took a great throw by Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia to snuff it out.
Ortiz and first-base coach Alex Ochoa had been cooking up the idea for a few days. If the first baseman plays behind Ortiz, try to make the opposition pay.
Perhaps the timing left a little to be desired, but the idea wasn't a bad one.
"Alex and David have been talking about it," manager Bobby Valentine said after Boston's 4-2 victory. "If they're going to play behind him, if he can get a good jump and they can pick a good pitch. I don't know if a one-run game in the seventh inning is a little dicey. You know, it's going to get guys to hold him on base and create a hole for the guys who are hitting behind him. I think it's a necessary strategy."
Ortiz nearly got in there in time.
"I was safe, by the way," said Ortiz.
He was shaking his head about Arencibia's throw.
"That's not fair. He should make that throw when guys are fast," quipped Ortiz. "No offense."
Bard trying to get comfortable in new role
TORONTO -- Daniel Bard will make his rotation debut on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays. The question is, how long will Bard be a starter?
With Andrew Bailey sidelined for a few months following right thumb surgery, there has been a public outcry for Bard to be the Red Sox's closer.
It is an odd dynamic for the righty, who is just trying to gain comfort in his new role as a starter.
All Bard can do is focus on pitching in the rotation as long as he's asked to do that. How would he feel if the team asked him to move to closer?
"Until that happens, I can't really answer it. I haven't even pitched this year yet. We're three games in," Bard said. "It's easy to say that we need [help in the bullpen]. Obviously our bullpen wants to throw better. They're going to throw better. To judge them off three games isn't really fair."
In the winter, Bard told the Red Sox that he'd like to either close or start. He's grateful the team has given him a chance to prove his worth in the rotation.
"It's not for me to decide. Right now, I'm a starter, and I'll try to be the best one I can be," Bard said.
Manager Bobby Valentine is sensitive to Bard's situation.
"We've talked and he gets it," Valentine said. "Poor guy has been thrown into a situation that no one should have to be thrown into really before his first Major League start of the season. Words aren't going to do anything more than his performance will, that's for sure."
And Valentine is very much looking forward to watching that performance.
"Well, considering he's probably been the guy who's been talked about the most the first three games and he hasn't thrown a pitch yet, I'm dying for him to throw a pitch," said Valentine.
Can Valentine commit to Bard in the rotation beyond the one start?
"Wow. Felix [Doubront]? Daniel? Tomorrow's his day. Let's not slight Felix today," Valentine said. "Today is his day."