BOSTON, MA - JUNE 26: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox and Jeff Mathis #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays watch the flight of Saltalamacchia's home run in the seventh inning at Fenway Park June 26, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Red Sox were bad, bad, bad for six innings.
Given, for once, a positive start from Daisuke Matsuzaka, who gave up a leadoff double and then locked down on the Toronto lineup for the better part of six innings, with the run only coming around to score thanks to some ugly defense by Mike Aviles and WIll Middlebrooks in the first, the Sox were set to do nothing with it.
Perhaps Aaron Laffey was reading from the Jair Jurrjens playbook. Somewhere out there is an instruction manual to defeat the Red Sox, passed around only amongst guys with mediocre numbers in Triple-A. Six innings, three hits, two walks, zero runs. The Sox threatened him late in his outing, but an Adrian Gonzalez leadoff double was wasted in the fifth and Dustin Pedroia was gunned down at home on a great throw by Rajai Davis from left in the sixth, leaving the Sox unable to push anything across against the left-hander.
Eventually, however, Laffey's night ended, and that's when the Sox came to play.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia got it started with a solo shot over the Monster--Toronto's mistake to let him bat left-handed--and after a Ryan Kalish double, David Pauley came into the game and the fun started in earnest. A plunking of Daniel Nava, a walk to Mike Aviles, and up came Dustin Pedroia. A sinker low-and-away was not far enough from the second baseman to keep him from knocking it back up the middle for a two-run single, putting the Sox up 3-1.
Though Mike Aviles would get caught in a run-down to end the seventh, the eighth proved nearly as productive, with Pauley back out to surrender a double, single, and double to David Ortiz, Cody Ross, and Adrian Gonzalez respectively, building the lead to 5-1 after a Will Middlebrooks sacrifice fly. With the bullpen producing three strong innings, the Sox once again jumped ahead of the Jays for fourth place in the A.L. East.