The Red Sox cut their magic number for a playoff berth to two last night with a gritty 4-3 win over the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Paul Byrd went six innings, giving up three runs and left with the game tied. He gave up three straight doubles in the second, and the Jays were up, 2-0. The Red Sox rallied for 3 runs in the sixth, as Kevin Youkilis singled in a run with the bases loaded (after it appeared he swung at a 2-2 pitch and the first base ump said he didn't), and Sean Casey followed with a two-RBI double.
The Blue Jays tied it right back up in the sixth and it stayed 3-3 until the eighth. The Red Sox again loaded the bases and Jason Varitek it a slow roller to shortstop and Toronto could only get a force and second, and the go-ahead run scored.
Jonathan Papelbon came on in ninth, and immediately had a ball hit by Adam Lind go off his glove and tried to rush a throw to first but it wide and Lind wound up on second. From there, Papelbon shut the Jays down, getting a liner to short, a grounder to second and a strike out to wrap up his 39th save.
Tampa Bay routed Minnesota, 11-1, to drop the playoff magic number to 2. If the Red Sox win, and both Minnesota loses to Tampa Bay and New York loses to Baltimore (the Yankees and Twins both have the same record now), both the Red Sox and Rays will clinch playoff spots, and New York and Toronto will be eliminated. The Sox continue to be 1 1/2 games out of the division lead.
And also, the Bartolo Colon Experiment is now over, as the Red Sox have placed him on the restricted list and suspended him. He returned to the Dominican Republic and doesn't plan to return to the Red Sox as a spot starter/reliever. The word on Mike Lowell's hip is good, as he consulted with experts about it. He will get some limited playing time the rest of the regular season and hopefully will be good to go for the playoffs. He will have arthroscopic surgery once the season is completed.