Toronto at Boston

W: T. Wakefield (16-11) L: D. Bush (5-11)
S: M. Timlin (12)
HR: TOR - None   BOS - None

Wakefield pitches BoSox into tie with Yankees atop AL East

CBS wire reports

BOSTON -- Tim Wakefield pitched the Boston Red Sox back into a share of first place -- and saved a little bit for next time, too.

The knuckleballer helped Boston pull into a tie for the AL East lead on Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the opening game of a day-night doubleheader.

Then he left, still strong after seven innings, so he would be fresh for a crucial start on three days' rest against the New York Yankees.

"I probably could have finished the game, but I don't think that's a smart move," he said after holding the Blue Jays to one unearned run on three hits. "It's a pennant race. Every game is pretty much a must-win."

The Red Sox were tied with the Yankees heading into the nightcap of the split-admission doubleheader, a result of Monday's rainout. The Yankees were scheduled to play the plummeting Orioles, losers of nine straight, in Baltimore.

David Ortiz drove in two runs to give him a major league-leading 142 RBI and help the defending World Series champions win for the fourth time in a row and their fifth in six tries.

The victory guaranteed that the AL East title will be up for grabs when New York comes to Fenway Park for a three-game, season-ending series this weekend.

Wakefield (16-11) was scheduled to pitch the regular-season finale on Sunday, but Monday's rainout pushed Curt Schilling back until Tuesday's nightcap, when he was to face Gustavo Chacin. The Red Sox decided that the knuckleballer was better equipped to come back on short rest than Schilling, who has struggled all season as he recovers from ankle surgery.

So out came Wakefield.

"You never want to look past anything," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "But it's a little bit of an extraordinary circumstance."

Boston, the Yankees and Cleveland were knotted up in the AL wild-card race with 92-64 records.

Wakefield allowed walked one and hit a batter while striking out six to win for the eighth time in 10 decisions. Jonathan Papelbon followed him in the eighth, using a mid-90s fastball and the late afternoon shadows to escape a first-and-third, one-out jam.

First baseman John Olerud raced into the Fenway shadows to run down Vernon Wells' popup, then Papelbon blew a fastball past former Red Sox infielder Shea Hillenbrand for strike three to end the inning.

"That's tough," designated hitter Frank Catalanotto said. "The toughest part was the shadows. We all came back saying we couldn't see the ball. It was tough picking it up. When you go from a slow knuckleball to a guy throwing 95 and you add in the shadow, it's tough."

Mike Timlin pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 19 chances and his 79th appearance of the season -- one short of the franchise record.

Dave Bush (5-11) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two. He ran into trouble in the first when Johnny Damon led off with a single and Edgar Renteria doubled him to third.

Ortiz grounded out to second to make it 1-0, then Manny Ramirez singled to score Renteria.

Frank Menechino singled in the fifth and took second on Ramirez's error in left field. The runner moved to third on Aaron Hill's fly ball and scored on Doug Mirabelli's passed ball.

Ortiz doubled to score Renteria in the fifth and make it 3-1.


  • The Red Sox face three consecutive left-handed starters, starting with Chacin. Lefty starters are 5-10 with a 6.59 ERA at Fenway this year.
  • Because of Monday's rainout, Schilling will start the regular-season finale against Mike Mussina instead of Saturday's game against the Yankees. Wakefield will start on three days' rest on Saturday and face Randy Johnson. David Wells and Chien-Ming Wang will pitch Friday's series opener.
  • Wakefield's previous two starts were no-decisions, including a nine-inning stint that Boston won on a walkoff hit-by-pitch in the 10th.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Big  Papi and relief pitcher Mike Timlin are riled up after Timlin gets the final out.  (AP)
Big Papi and relief pitcher Mike Timlin are riled up after Timlin gets the final out. (AP)

Players of the Game

D. Ortiz
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

T. Wakefield
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 6

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February 24, 2017
2017 AL East Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (3:22)
Toronto Blue Jays
Frank Catalanotto, DH3000122 .283
Alex Rios, RF4020001 .261
Vernon Wells, CF3000003 .270
Shea Hillenbrand, 3B4000033 .293
Eric Hinske, 1B4000000 .256
Frank Menechino, 2B3110010 .220
   a- Russ Adams, PH1000010 .251
Aaron Hill, SS3000011 .268
   b- Corey Koskie, PH1010000 .251
Gabe Gross, LF4000002 .253
Guillermo Quiroz, C2010010 .154
   c- Gregg Zaun, PH-C0000100 .256
a-struck out for Menechino in the 9th
b-singled for Hill in the 9th
c-walked for Quiroz in the 8th
Toronto Blue Jays
Dave Bush (L,5-11) 6633250 4.45
Dustin McGowan 2000010 6.55
IBB - Ramirez by Dave Bush
HBP - Ramirez (by Dave Bush)
Pitches-Strikes - Dave Bush 105-64, Dustin McGowan 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dave Bush 10-3, Dustin McGowan 3-2
Batters Faced - Dave Bush 27, Dustin McGowan 6
Boston Red Sox
Johnny Damon, CF4110001 .313
Edgar Renteria, SS4220000 .276
David Ortiz, DH4012020 .296
Manny Ramirez, LF2011100 .288
Trot Nixon, RF4000012 .286
Bill Mueller, 3B4000003 .299
John Olerud, 1B2000110 .299
Doug Mirabelli, C3000021 .229
Alex Cora, 2B3010001 .234
2B - Edgar Renteria 2 (34, Bush, Bush), David Ortiz (39, Bush), Alex Cora (8, Bush)
RBI - David Ortiz 2 (142), Manny Ramirez (136)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Renteria-Cora-Olerud
PB - Doug Mirabelli (6)
E - Manny Ramirez (7, Misplayed grounder), Edgar Renteria (30, Misplayed grounder)
Boston Red Sox
Tim Wakefield (W,16-11) 7310160 3.96
Jonathan Papelbon (H,4) 1100120 2.93
Mike Timlin (S,12) 1100010 2.29
HBP - V. Wells (by Tim Wakefield)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Wakefield 112-76, Jonathan Papelbon 25-17, Mike Timlin 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Wakefield 8-7, Mike Timlin 2-0
Batters Faced - Tim Wakefield 26, Jonathan Papelbon 5, Mike Timlin 4
Game Information
Attendance - 35700
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 68
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Gary Cederstrom