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Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 8: Sox overcome three deficits, prevail in tenth

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The Red Sox were behind three different times, but managed to respond to a two-run tenth to walk off over the Blue Jays.

Jim Rogash

Allen Webster looked like he was going to treat the Red Sox to give this game away to the Blue Jays in a hurry. A trio of singles provided the Blue Jays with two earned runs before Boston's starter could wrap up the first inning. And while two runs is hardly an insurmountable deficit, negative signs from Allen Webster always seem to portend total disaster.

Tonight, however, that was not the case. Fault Webster for another mediocre night, but credit him for providing the Red Sox with one of his less-disastrous outings on the whole. Webster wouldn't face more than one baserunner per inning until the sixth, getting a double play to erase a leadoff single in the second, then working around a pair of walks in the third and fourth to keep the Jays at bay.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, had wasted no time transforming their deficit into a lead. In the first inning, Yoenis Cespedes singled home Brock Holt after a leadoff hit from Boston's super-utility man. The second saw Mookie Betts walk, go from first-to-third on Xander Bogaerts' single, and then score on Christian Vazquez. And in the third it was Mike Napoli continuing the picket fence attack with an RBI groundout, bringing Dustin Pedroia home to score in his first game back from injury.

Drew Hutchison would finally get things under control in the fourth, retiring the Red Sox in order, then keeping them off the board for the next two innings before handing the ball off to the Jays' bullpen. Allen Webster, on the other hand, was about to see his stretch of scoreless innings come to an end in a frankly acceptable manner: a Jose Bautista homer--the sort of thing that can happen to the best--good for two runs to put the Jays ahead 4-3.

Toronto would extend their lead in the eighth thanks to another big homer from a big power hitter, with Alex Wilson the victim of a two-run blast from Edwin Encarnacion this time to make it 6-3. It seemed like the game had gotten away from the Red Sox, but the bottom of the inning would prove that was far from the case. Yoenis Cespedes singled off Kendall Graveman to start the inning, and drive him from the game in favor of Aaroun Loup. Loup did manage to get a ground ball from Mike Napoli, but in one of the most unlikely combination of events in any baseball game ever, Napoli reached on an infield single, and then joined with Cespedes to execute a successful double steal. Mookie Betts followed with a single to left, scoring both men, and then scored himself when Xander Bogaerts doubled to the wall in right, making it a tie game once more.

With neither side scoring in the ninth, the game headed to extra innings, where once again the Red Sox seemed headed for a loss. Three straight one-out hits from Edwin Encarnacion, John Mayberry, and Dioner Navarro was enough to put two runs on the board for Toronto, giving the Red Sox just three outs to work with to avoid yet another loss.

Once again, though, the Red Sox responded to two runs with three. And it wasn't even a close thing, either. Casey Janssen just could not record outs for the Jays--or, rather, the Jays just couldn't record outs for him. The Red Sox hit ground ball after ground ball after ground ball, and not one cost them an out. Mookie Betts got it started, Xander Bogaerts made it two straight to start the inning, and Christian Vazquez bunted over the head of a charging Juan Francisco to load the bases.

That left the actual scoring up to Will Middlebrooks, perhaps the last man the Red Sox would want at the plate in this situation. Friday night, however, he was the right man for the job, jumping on the first pitch for an RBI single through the left side of the infield. Six pitches later, and it was Pedroia hitting a line drive to Kevin Pillar for the game-tying sacrifice.

With one down, two on, and a tie game, the Blue Jays now had to face David Ortiz. Janssen would win that battle, in truth, but Steve Tolleson threw the ball away trying to start a double play, and that left Yoenis Cespedes with a relatively simple job. Needing just a simple fly ball, Cespedes instead crushed one to center field, dropping what will, due to scoring eccentricities, be considered a one-run single despite kicking up into the stands. Whether it's worth one or two runs, however, doesn't much matter when the first is the game-winner.