Richmond Helps Jays Win, Toronto Back in First Place

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Richmond Helps Jays Win, Toronto Back in First Place
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
So, it was another Canadian who came up big in the AL East race.

On Monday, Jason Bay (from Trail, B.C.) of the Red Sox hit a game-winning three-run homer in the ninth inning, giving Boston a 3-1 victory and a share of first place in the East. It was Boston's 11th straight win (Bay could have been a hero again on Tuesday night, but more on that later...).

On Tuesday, it was Scott Richmond (from North Vancouver, B.C.) of the Blue Jays' turn. The right-handed starting pitcher improved to 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA this season, and the Jays won in Kansas City, 8-1.

Couple with Boston's 9-8 loss in Cleveland on Tuesday, the Blue Jays (15-7) regain sole possession of top spot in the division. The Red Sox (13-7) are a game back.

Blue Jays fans must have been wondering if Boston would ever lose again, as the Red Sox looked unbeatable in their 11-0 run.

The Sox were finding new ways to win, including hitting game-tying homers in the ninth inning (which Bay did last Friday off the Yankees' Mariano Rivera) and overcoming 6-0 deficits (which they did on Saturday against New York). They were getting great pitching and clutch hitting. It seemed they just knew how to win.

Well, one thing to note: The last time the Red Sox won 11 straight was back in 2006, when Boston went 12-0 that June. Ironically, the Sox didn't even make the postseason that year, finishing in third place in the East, a game behind Toronto.

Hey, it's still April, and 11-game winning streaks don't necessarily mean the teams involved would be crowned champions at the end.

As for Tuesday's game, in addition to Richmond's pitching, the offense came through again. Vernon Wells went 3-for-5 with three RBI, while Aaron Hill was 3-for-4 with two ribbies.

Toronto jumped out to a 5-0 lead with a four-run fourth inning against Royals starter Gil Meche, who gave up seven hits and five walks. Meche was KO'ed that same inning due to lower back stiffness.

Richmond gave up five hits over seven innings. He walked three and struck out five.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Red Sox blew 5-1 and 7-3 leads, before losing in the last of the ninth. The winning run came home on an error.

Bay went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two walks for the Red Sox. The only time he made out was in the first inning, when he fanned with runners on first and third. After that, Bay got on base every time he stepped up to the plate.

In fact, with the score tied 8-8, Bay led off the Red Sox's half of the ninth with a single and made it all the way to third with one out. He, however, was left stranded there.
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