In John Farrell’s return to Toronto, the Red Sox were able to outlast the Blue Jays and come away with a 6-4 win Friday night at the Rogers Centre before 45,328 fans.
Mike Napoli’s RBI groundout in the eighth inning snapped a 4-4 tie and then a Will Middlebrooks home run in the ninth provided some insurance for the Sox’ third win of the year.
The Red Sox bats showed some power for the first time this season as Napoli belted the first home run of the year, a two-run shot in the fifth, and then Middlebrooks’ blast in the ninth. The team also had three other extra base hits.
Napoli led the way with his home run and three RBI’s, while Dustin Pedroia, Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino and Pedro Ciriaco all had two hits in the win.
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront went five-plus innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and struck out six. After settling down after a rough start, the left-hander allowed a solo home run to Mark DeRosa in the fifth and then two batters later, an RBI double to Jose Reyes for the second and third runs.
Aside from Junichi Tazawa allowing a home run in the seventh, the Red Sox bullpen was once again strong as Koji Uehara, Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan all pitched scoreless innings. Hanrahan pitched the ninth for his second save of the season, and despite the home run Tazawa picked up the win.
Shortstop Jose Igelsias was forced to leave the game after being struck by a pitch in the elbow in the second inning. He tried to play through it, but was still feeling discomfort an inning later and was forced from the game being replaced by Ciriaco. The team announced it as a right arm contusion.
The two teams will meet again Saturday afternoon (1:07, NESN) where John Lackey will make his season debut, and first start since 2011. Toronto will counter with J.A. Happ.
What they will be saying: Despite the the win, the Red Sox left a number of runs on the board as they left 15 runners on base, were 2-19 with runners in scoring position and struck out 12 times as a team. … It was another relatively short outing for Red Sox starting pitching, as Doubront couldn’t get an out in the sixth inning. Although the four outings by Red Sox starters have gone fairly well, you’d like to see them get through at least the sixth to set up their strong bullpen. … The bullpen showed what they can do with a lead late in games as Bailey and Hanrahan pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to close the door on Toronto.