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The slugger hit a tying solo homer with two out in the seventh inning and the Red Sox rallied to beat the Blue Jays 5-1 on Tuesday night.
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Saltalamacchia's line drive to left off reliever Jason Frasor just cleared the Green Monster for his 14th homer, tying it at 1. The Red Sox then loaded the bases on a double, a hit batter and a walk before Dustin Pedroia drove in two with a single up the middle.
Saltalamacchia is already closing in on his career high of 16 homers, set two years ago when he shared catching duties with former captain Jason Varitek.
"He's playing a confident brand of baseball because he believes in himself and he's a talented player," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Some things that might have haunted his past just seem to be gone and he's just playing the game of baseball. Looks good doing it."
"I feel like any given night, it's someone different," said Mike Aviles, who drew a rare walk to load the bases in the seventh for Pedroia.
"Every night you never know who's going to be the hero and that makes the game intriguing for us."
The rally spoiled a strong performance by Aaron Laffey in his first start in nearly two years. Laffey stepped in for Toronto's depleted rotation and pitched six crisp innings, allowing three hits with two walks. Laffey retired 12 straight batters after Aviles' leadoff single in the first.
"Aaron Laffey pitched a heck of a six innings for us," manager John Farrell said. "He gave us six outstanding innings -- shutout innings. We were up 1-0."
But that isn't enough at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox had been struggling earlier but improved to 6-2 on a nine-game homestand that wraps up Wednesday afternoon against the Blue Jays.
After Saltalamacchia went deep, pinch-hitter Ryan Kalish doubled to right against Luis Perez (2-2). David Pauley came out of the bullpen and hit Daniel Nava with a pitch. Pauley then walked Aviles and Pedroia's hit made it 3-1.
"It seems like it's been so long since he's been in that opportunity late in the game where he could win the game," Valentine said. "It presented itself and he drove the runs in. That really gives us strength."
Matsuzaka went 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Pedroia walked with one out in the sixth and tried to scamper home on David Ortiz's double off the Green Monster, but Rajai Davis recovered after misplaying the hop and threw a straight shot to catcher Jeff Mathis in time for the tag.
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia's solo home run was the first of the Red Sox's three runs scored in the seventh inning. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Brett Lawrie, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.290|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.264|
|Jose Bautista, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.233|
|Edwin Encarnacion, DH||3||0||1||1||1||2||0||.286|
|Kelly Johnson, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.243|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.252|
|Rajai Davis, LF||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.281|
|Adam Lind, 1B||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.195|
|Jeff Mathis, C||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||.183|
|2B - Brett Lawrie (13, Matsuzaka)|
|SH - Jeff Mathis (2)|
|RBI - Edwin Encarnacion (52)|
|PK - Rajai Davis (1, Matsuzaka)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Outfield Assists - Rajai Davis 1, Colby Rasmus 1|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|Jason Frasor (BS,3)||0.2||1||1||1||0||0||1||4.03|
|Luis Perez (L,2-2)||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||3.53|
|HBP - Nava (by David Pauley)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Laffey 82-48, Jason Frasor 12-6, Luis Perez 3-3, David Pauley 18-7, Scott Richmond 13-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Laffey 10-5, Jason Frasor 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Aaron Laffey 22, Jason Frasor 3, Luis Perez 1, David Pauley 6, Scott Richmond 3|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Mike Aviles, SS||3||0||1||0||1||0||0||.263|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||3||0||1||2||1||0||1||.272|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.307|
|Cody Ross, RF||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.276|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.266|
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B||3||0||0||1||0||1||1||.318|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.254|
|Darnell McDonald, LF||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.210|
|a- Ryan Kalish, PH-CF||2||1||1||0||0||0||1||.259|
|Brent Lillibridge, CF||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.169|
|b- Daniel Nava, PH-LF||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.325|
|a-doubled for McDonald in the 7th|
|b-hit by pitch for Lillibridge in the 7th|
|2B - David Ortiz 2 (23, Laffey, Pauley), Adrian Gonzalez 2 (24, Laffey, Pauley), Ryan Kalish (1, Perez)|
|HR - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14, Frasor)|
|SF - Will Middlebrooks (3)|
|RBI - Dustin Pedroia 2 (30), Adrian Gonzalez (40), Will Middlebrooks (35), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (35)|
|2-OUT RBI - Dustin Pedroia 2 (10), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|PB - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3)|
|E - Will Middlebrooks (7, Throwing)|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Andrew Miller (W,2-0)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.12|
|Vicente Padilla (H,17)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.86|
|Pitches-Strikes - Daisuke Matsuzaka 100-60, Scott Atchison 8-7, Andrew Miller 7-4, Vicente Padilla 12-7, Alfredo Aceves 12-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daisuke Matsuzaka 5-7, Scott Atchison 3-0, Vicente Padilla 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Daisuke Matsuzaka 24, Scott Atchison 4, Andrew Miller 1, Vicente Padilla 3, Alfredo Aceves 3|
|Attendance - 37755|
|Game Time - 3:02|
|Temperature - 69|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Rob Drake, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Sam Holbrook|