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Toronto at Boston

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Toronto0110200004101
Boston «0010020115101

Ortiz's heroics set stage for dramatic weekend in Boston

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- With their playoff push in trouble and the Yankees packing bags for a weekend showdown at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox suddenly found themselves in need of a late-inning spark -- and fast.

Sounds like a job for Big Papi.

David Ortiz saved the Red Sox again, pulling them from desperation to delirium just in time for a crucial series with New York.

The MVP contender tied the game in the eighth inning with his AL-leading 47th homer, then singled home the winning run in the ninth to give Boston a critical 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.

"The best thing that ever happened to this team was winning this game tonight," Ortiz said. "Everybody was on their toes."

The Red Sox (93-66) enter their season-ending three-game series with the Yankees (94-65) trailing New York by one game. Boston would tie its rival by taking two of three, forcing a one-game playoff Monday in New York, and would win the division with a sweep.

"It's going to be three Super Bowl games," Kevin Millar said. "Whoever set the schedule this year is a genius."

Ortiz's homer was his 20th of the season that tied a game or put Boston ahead, and it was his 11th in September.

"When you're out there playing, you don't think the game's going to be on your back," said Ortiz, who leads the majors with 146 RBI.

Boston trailed 4-1, and a loss would have dropped the Red Sox two games back of New York in the AL East and one game behind Cleveland in the wild-card race, which remains tied.

The Yankees beat Baltimore 8-4 Friday night for their 15th win in 18 games, while the Indians beat Tampa Bay 6-0.

If the Red Sox and Indians both win two of three this weekend, there will be a double playoff, with Boston traveling to New York for the AL East tiebreaker and the loser playing the Indians for the wild card.

Rookie Jonathan Papelbon (3-1) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win, and Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the sixth off Jason Frasor that cut the deficit to 4-3.

Ortiz homered off Vinnie Chulk leading of the eighth, and Miguel Batista (5-8) allowed a one-out single in the ninth to Johnny Damon, who stole second.

Edgar Renteria walked, and Ortiz lined a 3-2 pitch into the shortstop hole as Damon easily scored.

As he rounded first, Ortiz raised both arms to the sky and was mobbed by teammates. The crowd chanted "MVP! MVP!"

"The Yankees won. Cleveland won. So we've got to pull this one out," Ortiz said moments after his winning hit.

After the homer, Ramirez walked and Jason Varitek singled to give the Red Sox runners at the corners with no outs, but John Olerud hit a shallow flyout, Bill Mueller struck out and Trot Nixon hit a liner to right-center that Vernon Wells grabbed with an outstanding sliding catch.

"We were going to make them earn it," Toronto's Gregg Zaun said. "You're not going to hold guys like that down forever. Look at the numbers they've put up."

Toronto took a 1-0 lead in the first against Matt Clement when Eric Hinske doubled, stole third and went home when Varitek threw the ball into left field for an error.

Doubles by Aaron Hill and Frank Catalanotto made it 2-0 in the second before Boston scored in the bottom of the inning on Tony Graffanino's double, Damon's single and Edgar Renteria's groundout.

"It was nice to get a couple of runs early and quiet their crowd, but when Manny hits his home run, it was 'Here they come again,'" Hinske said.

Catalanotto made it 4-1 in the fifth with his eighth homer, and Toronto appeared headed to its 12th win in 18 games against the Red Sox before Ramirez hit his 42nd homer.

Notes

  • Ramirez has 432 homers, passing Cal Ripken for sole possession of 34th place.
  • Ortiz has the second-highest season home-run total for the Red Sox, three behind Jimmie Foxx (1938).
  • Boston reached 93 victories for the fourth straight year for the first time in club history.
 
Copyright 2014 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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David Ortiz's ninth-inning single off Miguel Batista brings home Johnny Damon from second.  (AP)
David Ortiz's ninth-inning single off Miguel Batista brings home Johnny Damon from second. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

D. Ortiz
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Toronto

F. Catalanotto
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Toronto Blue Jays
Russ Adams, SS5110002 .250
Frank Catalanotto, DH5123010 .295
Vernon Wells, CF3000100 .270
Corey Koskie, 3B4000113 .246
Eric Hinske, 1B5130002 .261
Gregg Zaun, C4000101 .251
Alex Rios, RF4020003 .263
Gabe Gross, LF3000115 .235
Aaron Hill, 2B4120001 .276
Totals3741034317 
Batting
2B - Frank Catalanotto (28, Clement), Eric Hinske 3 (30, Clement, Clement, Papelbon), Alex Rios (23, Papelbon), Aaron Hill (24, Clement)
HR - Frank Catalanotto (8, Clement)
RBI - Frank Catalanotto 3 (51)
SB - Eric Hinske (8, off Clement/Varitek)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Koskie-Hill-Hinske, Hill-R. Adams-Hinske
E - Russ Adams (26, Misplayed grounder)
Toronto Blue Jays
Scott Downs 5522230 4.31
Jason Frasor (H,15) 2111111 3.30
Vinnie Chulk (BS,1) 1211111 3.88
Miguel Batista (L,5-8) 0.1211100 4.10
WP - Scott Downs (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Downs 96-59, Jason Frasor 29-20, Vinnie Chulk 21-14, Miguel Batista 13-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Downs 6-5, Jason Frasor 4-1
Batters Faced - Scott Downs 21, Jason Frasor 8, Vinnie Chulk 6, Miguel Batista 4
Boston Red Sox
Johnny Damon, CF5130012 .317
Edgar Renteria, SS4001103 .279
David Ortiz, DH5232021 .298
Manny Ramirez, LF3122100 .289
Jason Varitek, C4010001 .279
Kevin Millar, 1B1000211 .274
    Alejandro Machado, PR0000000 .250
    John Olerud, 1B1000002 .297
Bill Mueller, 3B4000015 .296
Trot Nixon, RF4000002 .281
Tony Graffanino, 2B3110100 .307
Totals3451055517 
Batting
2B - Tony Graffanino (17, Downs)
HR - David Ortiz (47, Chulk), Manny Ramirez (42, Frasor)
RBI - Edgar Renteria (70), David Ortiz 2 (146), Manny Ramirez 2 (138)
SB - Johnny Damon (15, 2nd base off Batista/Zaun), Tony Graffanino (6, 2nd base off Frasor/Zaun)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Jason Varitek (8, Wild throw)
Boston Red Sox
Matt Clement 5844321 4.57
Mike Myers 1.1000100 3.22
Jonathan Papelbon (W,3-1) 2.2200010 2.70
IBB - Zaun by Matt Clement, V. Wells by Mike Myers
HBP - V. Wells (by Matt Clement)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Clement 96-57, Mike Myers 21-10, Jonathan Papelbon 30-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Clement 7-6, Mike Myers 2-2, Jonathan Papelbon 5-2
Batters Faced - Matt Clement 27, Mike Myers 5, Jonathan Papelbon 10
Game Information
Attendance - 35345
Game Time - 3:24
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Tim Welke