By HOWARD ULMAN AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) _ Tim Wakefield earned his 200th win on his eighth
try, Dustin Pedroia hit two homers in Boston’s highest-scoring game
of the season and the Red Sox ended a five-game losing streak with
an 18-6 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
The Red Sox needed the victory badly after their AL wild-card
lead over Tampa Bay had dropped from nine games to three over the
previous nine days. And the 45-year-old knuckleballer was eager to
end the long wait _ 0-3 in seven outings since his last win July 24
_ to become the 108th pitcher with 200 wins.
Wakefield (7-6) went six innings and overcame a shaky outing to
retire his final six batters. He left with a 6-5 lead after
allowing six hits and two walks. He struck out two.
The crowd at Fenway Park clapped and chanted “Wakefield!
Wakefield!” as Junichi Tazawa pitched the ninth for Boston, which
moved four games in front of the Rays. Tampa Bay lost 4-2 at
The Red Sox added to their cushion with four runs in the sixth
on a double by Carl Crawford, an RBI single by Jarrod
Saltalamacchia, a single by Jacoby Ellsbury and a three-run homer
by Pedroia, his 20th of the year.
Pedroia, who tied his career high with five RBIs, also was on
the tail end of consecutive homers with Ellsbury in the fourth.
Pedroia went 4 for 5 with two homers, two doubles and a
sacrifice fly after going 3 for 31 on the road trip that ended
Sunday with Boston losing six of seven games. Ellsbury also had
four hits and Crawford had three as Boston finished with 18.
Brandon Morrow (9-11) left after Crawford led off the sixth with
a double and took third on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice. Luis Perez
allowed hits to the only four batters he faced, starting with
Saltalamacchia’s single that made it 7-5.
Alfredo Aceves relieved Wakefield in the seventh and worked two
scoreless innings. Tazawa, just recalled from the minors, finished
Boston took a 2-0 lead on unearned runs in the first when
Pedroia doubled, Adrian Gonzalez walked, Kevin Youkilis was hit by
a pitch and Josh Reddick was safe on a two-base throwing error by
first baseman David Cooper.
Toronto went ahead 3-2 in the second on J.P. Arencibia’s 23rd
homer, a three-run shot. But the Red Sox made it 4-3 in the bottom
of the inning on an RBI double by Ellsbury and Pedroia’s sacrifice
Wakefield gave the runs right back in the third when the Blue
Jays took a 5-4 lead as Eric Thames led off with a single and Jose
Bautista hit his major league-high 42nd homer.
Then the Red Sox went ahead to stay 6-5 on the back-to-back
homers by Ellsbury, his 27th, and Pedroia.
Wakefield’s previous start also was against the Blue Jays and he
left that with an 8-5 lead last Wednesday. But the bullpen failed
and Toronto came back for an 11-10 win, forcing Wakefield to keep
waiting for that elusive 200th win.
But on Tuesday, the Red Sox kept adding to their lead with four
runs in the sixth, one in the seventh and seven in the eighth.
Saltalamacchia’s three-run double highlighted Boston’s final inning
at the plate.
NOTES: Youkilis returned to the lineup after missing three games
with bursitis in his left hip and a sports hernia. He had been on
the disabled list from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2 with a back injury.
Youkilis said the three injuries are related to each other. … Red
Sox DH David Ortiz left the game with back spasms before he even
had a chance to hit. He was replaced by pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie in
the first. … Morrow is 0-4 in his last four starts and 1-6 in his
last eight. … Scutaro’s double in the eighth was his 1,000th
career hit. … John Lackey (12-12) pitches for Boston against
Ricky Romero (14-10) in Wednesday afternoon’s finale of the
two-game series. … Wakefield’s ERA increased from 5.03 to 5.13.
… Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar will miss at least the two
games in Boston because of a bruised left arm.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)