The Red Sox avoided a sweep in Toronto this past weekend by beating the Blue Jays, 6-3. David Ortiz hit a first-inning two-run homer and the Sox scored three that inning and led the rest of the way. But it was the bullpen that was the star of the show at Rogers Centre on Sunday.
After a dismal performance on Saturday, the Red Sox needed a win going into their three-game series that begins in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Matt Clement pitched well, but gave up a three-run homer to Gregg Zaun in the fourth. By the sixth, Clement was in trouble with two on and one out. Terry Francona brought in Keith Foulke (pictured) and he was sensational. He got out of that jam in the sixth, and pitched a flawless seventh. He struck out three of the five batters he faced. Foulke continues to be solid, and his performance today should help Foulke's case to become the closer once again.
Mike Timlin came on in the eighth, and his outing was encouraging. He threw strikes, giving up one hit and striking out one. Jonathan Papelbon got his eighth straight save. He started by giving up two hits to open the ninth, but he then struck out the dangerous Vernon Wells, and then got Troy Glaus to rap into a 6-4-3 double play to end it. Pap was supporting a new hairdo (a mohawk he got after winning--or was it losing?-- a bet to Kevin Youkilis), and he continues to be the best closer in baseball this season.
Asked about the mohawk, Papelbon let loose a classic line about it.
"I have only one person to answer about it. My wife."
The Red Sox are now 12-7, are still in first place and head to Jacobs Field for three with the Indians on Tuesday, and then to Tampa Bay for the weekend.