The Toronto Blue Jays thumped the Boston Red Sox 8-1 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.
While it turned out to be an easy victory for Toronto, it certainly didn't seem that way early on.
In the fourth inning, the Blue Jays had two runners (Vernon Wells on a blooper to left, Adam Lind on his own drive off the Green Monster) thrown out at third base within moments of each other. Toronto still scored a run to go up 2-0.
However, it wasn't a good sign when a team that had been shut out the night before (7-0 by Tim Wakefield for eight innings) squandered a potential big inning like that.
Not to worry, however, as rookie Travis Snider changed things the next two innings.
In the fifth, Snider drilled a three-run bomb, his second home run in the majors, into the bullpen for a 5-0 lead. This came right after Boston pitching coach John Farrell had came out to chat with Red Sox starter Paul Byrd.
Interestingly, through five innings, Byrd had surrendered nine hits, including his 31st HR given up (most in baseball), but had thrown fewer than 60 pitches (57). Byrd's pitch count was actually less than his Toronto counterpart, A.J. Burnett, who was throwing a shutout pitching on three days' rest.
Snider, though, continued to come through. With two runners in scoring position, the rookie DH almost hit another homer, but the ball hit the warning track before bouncing into the bullpen for a ground-rule double and Snider's fourth and fifth RBIs of the game.
The 20-year-old Snider, who finished the game 2-for-4, is now batting .333 in his first 11 games in the majors.
The Blue Jays were up 8-0, out hitting the BoSox 13-3 at the end of six innings.
With the win, Burnett (18-10) picked up his 18th victory of the campaign to tie Roy Halladay for the team lead.
Since June 19th, Burnett has gone 12-3 with a 3.21 ERA with 124 K's in 115 innings.
Canadian George Kottaras, from Scarborough, Ontario, made his major-league debut for Boston behind the plate in the seventh inning, with the Red Sox facing their steep deficit. Kottaras later struck out in his first big-league at-bat, but still managed to reach base on the third-strike wild pitch.
Blue Jays skipper Cito Gaston has now managed the same number of games this season as the man he replaced, John Gibbons. Toronto went 35-39 under Gibbons, but is now 45-29 under Gaston.
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