|Toronto (45-46) «||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||8||0|
BOSTON -- Jesse Litsch didn't need a weather report to come up with a game plan for his first career start in Fenway Park.
With a 21 mph wind blowing the flags straight toward center field, the Toronto rookie held Boston to one run in 6 2/3 innings on Sunday to outpitch Josh Beckett and lead the Blue Jays to a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox.
"I throw a lot of ground balls, so I just try to keep the ball on the ground," said Litsch, a 22-year-old right-hander making his sixth career start.
Lyle Overbay had three hits off Josh Beckett, and Litsch (2-3) allowed nine hits and a walk while striking out two to beat the All-Star Game winner. Beckett (12-3) allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out eight over eight innings in his first start since earning a win with two scoreless innings in the All-Star Game.
"I was the second-best pitcher today," said Beckett, who has lost two of his past three starts and remains tied for the major league lead in wins with C.C. Sabathia and John Lackey. "Bottom line: get outpitched, you lose. And that's what happened today."
Jeremy Accardo pitched the ninth for his 12th save as Toronto trimmed Boston's lead in the AL East to nine games over the Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 7-6 on Sunday. It's the first time New York has been within single digits of the division lead since June 19.
A day after Boston and Toronto combined for five homers, they took the field with a strong wind blowing out to center. Neither team was able to hit one out on Sunday, but the gusts played havoc with enough popups to keep things interesting.
"You go out there and look at the way that flag was blowing today, you never would have expected 2-1. But (Litsch) was great," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It was a good ballgame, and you never would have expected it, the way the wind was blowing."
Litsch did not allow an earned run in his previous start on July 3, and he held Boston scoreless for the first five innings on Sunday before Alex Cora doubled to lead off the sixth and David Ortiz doubled on a fly ball that drifted between right fielder Alex Rios and Vernon Wells in center.
"Nothing was really routine," Wells said. "It was totally unpredictable."
Manny Ramirez hit a wind-blown popup that Hill, the second baseman, caught behind first. After Kevin Youkilis walked, Mike Lowell hit a high popup behind the plate that blew back toward the field before catcher Jason Phillips made a diving catch.
Eric Hinske followed with a line drive to right, and Rios came up with the ball cleanly and quickly made a perfect throw home that beat Ortiz to the plate. The big slugger slid to the catcher's left and reached around with his right hand; but before Ortiz could tap the plate, Phillips tagged him on the chest.
|Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox are frustrated by Jesse Litsch, who allows only one run. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Reed Johnson, LF||5||0||0||0||0||0||1||.233|
|Alex Rios, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.299|
|Vernon Wells, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.252|
|Matt Stairs, DH||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||.282|
|Troy Glaus, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.288|
|Lyle Overbay, 1B||3||1||3||0||1||0||0||.267|
|Aaron Hill, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||0||5||.273|
|Royce Clayton, SS||4||0||2||1||0||1||3||.243|
|Jason Phillips, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.213|
|2B - Lyle Overbay (16, Beckett), Aaron Hill (26, Beckett), Jason Phillips (7, Beckett)|
|RBI - Aaron Hill (52), Royce Clayton (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Aaron Hill (23), Royce Clayton (6)|
|CS - Royce Clayton (1, 2nd base by Timlin/Mirabelli)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Outfield Assists - Alex Rios 1|
|DP - Hill-Clayton-Overbay, Litsch-Clayton-Overbay|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Jesse Litsch (W,2-3)||6.2||9||1||1||1||2||0||4.02|
|Scott Downs (H,12)||0.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.27|
|Casey Janssen (H,13)||0.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.27|
|Jeremy Accardo (S,13)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.63|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jesse Litsch 94-57, Scott Downs 10-8, Casey Janssen 9-7, Jeremy Accardo 14-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jesse Litsch 8-7, Scott Downs 1-0, Casey Janssen 1-0, Jeremy Accardo 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Jesse Litsch 27, Scott Downs 3, Casey Janssen 3, Jeremy Accardo 3|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Coco Crisp, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.268|
|Alex Cora, 2B||3||1||1||0||0||0||2||.279|
|a- Dustin Pedroia, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.309|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||0||2||1||0||1||1||.323|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.288|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||3||.320|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.301|
|Eric Hinske, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.196|
|Doug Mirabelli, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.185|
|Julio Lugo, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.210|
|a-grounded out for Cora in the 7th|
|2B - Alex Cora (6, Litsch), David Ortiz (32, Litsch), Doug Mirabelli (2, Litsch)|
|RBI - David Ortiz (57)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|E - Alex Cora (4, Misplayed grounder)|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Josh Beckett (L,12-3)||8||7||2||2||2||8||0||3.35|
|Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 118-76, Mike Timlin 9-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 8-9, Mike Timlin 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 34, Mike Timlin 3|
|Attendance - 36301|
|Game Time - 2:52|
|Temperature - 88|
|Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Wally Bell|