Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning after Troy Glaus' solo shot tied it in the eighth, and Toronto tagged Boston's usually strong bullpen for a 6-4 victory Wednesday.
Boston's lead in the AL East dropped to a still-comfortable six games over the New York Yankees, who beat Seattle. Each team has 22 games left. Toronto trails the wild card-leading Yankees by 6½ games.
The Red Sox entered with the AL's best bullpen ERA. But in their last six games, the relievers have allowed 14 runs in 17 1/3 innings, an ERA of 7.27.
"We've pretty much been consistent all year," said Manny Delcarmen, who allowed Glaus' homer that tied the score 4-all. "This is a time when everybody has to pick each other up and we didn't do it tonight."
Curt Schilling left after six innings with a 4-3 lead following Jason Varitek's two-run homer in the sixth. Bryan Corey pitched a scoreless inning, Delcarmen gave up one run, and Hideki Okajima (3-2) allowed Wells' two-run shot with one out in the ninth.
"I gave him a fat pitch and he got a home run off me," Okajima said through a translator.
The rookie left-hander has pitched 65 1/3 innings, more than in any of his past six seasons in Japan, and said he was more tired than late last year.
"I don't think you go through a whole year and never give up runs," Boston manager Terry Francona said about fatigue being a factor. "Guys aren't going to be perfect out of the bullpen. That's the way the game is."
The Blue Jays must be close to perfect the rest of the way to overtake three teams for the wild-card spot. Wells said they must win all their remaining series after losing two of three to the Red Sox. Two of those series -- seven of their next 17 games -- are against the Yankees.
"We have to play good baseball. We have them in the next couple of weeks. We have to take care of business," Wells said.
Toronto manager John Gibbons is hardly stressed out about his team's improbable quest.
"I can't worry about that," he said, smiling and shrugging his shoulders. "I'm just going to sit by the pool" Thursday.
Toronto has the day off before a three-game series in Tampa Bay. Boston begins a four-game set Thursday night in Baltimore.
Wells broke out of an 0-for-14 slump with two singles and the homer in his last three at-bats. Bothered by a sore left shoulder that might require surgery, he has just 16 homers after hitting 32 last year.
"It was a good time to hit one," he said. "We saw the Yankees score. We can't afford to give up more ground."
The scoreboard showed New York beating Seattle. It also showed that Toronto had squandered a 3-1 lead.
Wells connected after Okajima hit leadoff batter Gregg Zaun with a pitch and John McDonald sacrificed. Glaus' 20th homer in the eighth followed Varitek's 13th in the sixth.
Jeremy Accardo (4-0) retired all five batters he faced to finish the game. He entered with one out in the eighth after reliever Casey Janssen was hit in the right ankle with Varitek's hard grounder that went for a single. Coco Crisp fouled out on a bunt attempt before Janssen left the game.
Gibbons said he didn't think Janssen was hurt badly, but the pitcher will have X-rays.
Jacoby Ellsbury gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the first when he doubled, went to third on Mike Lowell's single and scored on J.D. Drew's grounder. Ellsbury, called up Saturday from Triple-A Pawtucket, missed hitting for the cycle by a double in Tuesday's 5-3 win over Toronto.
The Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on RBI singles by Matt Stairs, Alex Rios and Frank Thomas.
Ellsbury came through again in the fifth with a sacrifice fly. It was his sixth RBI in five games since being called up. He's hit safely in all of them.
Varitek homered after Kevin Youkilis was hit in the right elbow by a pitch.
Varitek surpassed his total of 12 homers last season and has three in his last 10 games. ... Stairs went 1-for-5 with a single after getting 20 extra-base hits in his previous 25 hits. ... Glaus has hit at least 20 homers in seven seasons. ... Wells has 23 homers against Boston, tying his high against any team. He also has hit 23 against Baltimore. ... Boston LF Manny Ramirez missed his eighth consecutive game with a strained muscle in his left side. ... Youkilis struck out twice in four plate appearances and has 14 strikeouts in his last 29 at-bats.