Ricky Romero and Jon Lester put on one heck of a show in the series finale at Roger Centre, and it was the home side that came out on top, with the difference in the game being the wheels of Rajai Davis.
Romero and Lester gave up only three hits each, with all of Romero’s coming over a span of four hitters in the third inning. Singles by Cody Ross, Mike Aviles and Jacoby Ellsbury sandwiched around a failed bunt attempt by Kelly Shoppach gave the Red Sox an early one-run lead, but Ricky shut it down right there, retiring 17 straight Sox after the Ellsbury safety, taking that run all the way to the 9th inning.
The Jays answered Boston’s run with two of their own in the third. Eric Thames, a bit of a surprise starter against the lefty, singled to start the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored easily as Davis legged out an RBI triple on a ball hit down the right-field line. Yunel Escobar cashed Davis with a fly ball to medium-deep right field, and after a walk to Kelly Johnson, Lester went on a run of his own that saw him set down 15 Blue Jays in a row.
That run took Lester to two outs in the bottom of the 8th, with the Blue Jays leading 2-1, and it ended when he walked Davis. Knowing Rajai was likely to try to steal second, Lester threw over to first base immediately and Davis was on the move. He should have been dead to rights, but Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez bounced his throw to second, which gave Davis enough room to slide safely into second, from whence he scored as Escobar came through with a clutch single to centre.
Having thrown only 90 pitches, and on one heck of a roll, Romero came back out for the 9th to try for the complete game win, but Ricky lost the plate. He walked the first two hitters of the inning on just nine pitches – the only free passes he’d allow all day – but stayed in to get Gonzalez to fly to centre. The ball was deep enough, though, that both runners were able to move up, giving Boston men on second and third and one out, trailing by two.
That was when John Farrell came out to get his closer, Sergio Santos, and his faith was rewarded. In just about the toughest save situation possible – having to face Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz with the tying run on second base – Santos was terrific. He jumped ahead of Youkilis with two quick strikes before eventually getting him to chase a slider down and away, then got Ortiz to ground out harmlessly to short to end it.
It was Santos’ first save as a Blue Jay – though it would have been his second if Luis Perez hadn’t stolen a save opportunity from him in the season opener – and it showed just what a prize the Jays dealt for back in December. He won’t be perfect, very few have been over a full season, but he’ll close out far, far more games than he doesn’t. And, it should be mentioned, the Blue Jays are now 3-1 in the four games in which Santos has pitched.
And as I write this, Santos is speeding to the airport to spend the off-day attending the birth of his third child, so the heartiest of mazel tovs to him and his!
It being a weekday day game, there was no real BlueJaysTalk, though I was happy to sit in with Tim and Sid for a couple of segments on our flagship station Sportsnet590 The Fan until we were derailed by technical issues. We’ll have time to do it up right after the opener with Baltimore on Friday night.
Speaking of which, the Jays have Thursday off and will welcome the Orioles for a three-game set beginning on Friday, with Brandon Morrow facing Tommy Hunter (not THAT Tommy Hunter), and we’ll have it all for you along the Blue Jays Radio Network beginning at 7:00PM Eastern. Both Morrow and Hunter were brilliant in their season-opening starts; Morrow going seven innings of one-hitter without allowing an earned run in Cleveland, Hunter also not giving up an earned run over seven innings of work in Minnesota, though he did give up six hits. Strangely, they both allowed a pair of unearned runs.
Please give me a follow on The Twitter – you can find me @wilnerness590! Ricky Romero hangs out there as well, and he can be found @RickyRo24.
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