“Manny and Ortiz are just good hitters,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after the two Red Sox All-Stars led Boston to a 7-4 victory over Toronto on Thursday night. “They’ll have big second halves.”
Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Ramirez had two hits and three RBIs as the AL East-leading Red Sox roughed up Roy Halladay early. Tim Wakefield (10-8) won his third straight start and fifth in six outings, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 21st save.
Ortiz said after the game that he has been playing with a torn meniscus in his right knee since last summer. He said there has been no inflammation so he hasn’t needed surgery.
“It wasn’t anything major,” he said. “I just kept playing through it last year. This year, it’s been bothering me more than it used to.”
Ortiz was limping around after hitting the same knee with a foul ball in the eighth inning Thursday.
“It hurt, but I’m fine,” he said.
Wakefield scattered nine hits, walked none and struck out two in six innings, allowing four runs, including back-to-back homers by Matt Stairs and Alex Rios in the sixth when Toronto cut a 5-2 deficit to one run. But in the bottom half Ortiz hit an RBI double and scored on Ramirez’s single to give Boston a 7-4 lead.
“They’re going to do it at some point. You’re not going to hold those guys down all year,” Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis said. “They’re held under a microscope. If they don’t drive in 80 runs or 70 runs in the first half, people think they’re having a bad year. But there’s a lot of the year left to go.”
Halladay (10-4) allowed the first four Red Sox batters of the game to reach base and score, giving up five runs in all and eight hits. The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner struck out two and walked four—the first time he has walked more than three batters in a game in more than three years.
“The start of the second half, we have a tough trip,” Halladay said. “It’s frustrating to have this kind of start, but we have a long way to go.”
Rios went 3-for-4 with a single, double and homer, and Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill had two hits apiece for the Blue Jays. Lyle Overbay went 1-for-4 in his first game back since breaking his right pinky on June 3.
Halladay gave up J.D. Drew’s single to lead off the Boston first, then walked Dustin Pedroia. Ortiz followed with an RBI single and Ramirez doubled in another run before Youkilis and Mike Lowell drove them in to make it 4-0.
Ortiz had 54 homers and 137 RBIs in 2006, when Ramirez (35, 102) had a bit of an off year. Ortiz had 14 homers and 52 RBIs heading into the break, and Ramirez had 11 and 45.
Julio Lugo had a pair of hits to raise his batting average above .200 for the first time since June 20. He also reached in the seventh when shortstop John McDonald’s throw to first was high, forcing Overbay to swipe tag as he came down with the ball.
Replays showed Overbay tagged Lugo before he touched the base, but umpire John Hirschbeck ruled the runner safe. Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing the call.
Boston right-hander Curt Schilling (right shoulder tendinitis) will throw on the side on Friday. … Toronto activated Overbay from the 15-day disabled list before the game. … Boston right-hander Brendan Donnelly (strained right forearm) is scheduled to make a rehab assignment in Single-A Lowell on Friday. … Wakefield has recorded a decision in each of his 18 starts this season. … Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs left the game after being hit on his right foot by Pedroia’s line drive in the eighth. “He has a bruise right around his ankle,” Gibbons said. … After the game, the Red Sox outrighted Jeff Bailey to Triple-A Pawtucket and activated Joel Pineiro from the disabled list.