BOSTON (AP)—Playing in his first All-Star game this week, Alex Rios didn’t get an at-bat. The way he’s been pounding the ball since he seems to want to make sure he gets another chance.
Rios had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run, and Shaun Marcum survived a shaky start to win for the first time in nearly a month as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 on Friday night.
Rios and Reed Johnson hit consecutive RBI doubles in the sixth inning to erase a 5-4 deficit and help the Blue Jays snap a four-game losing streak to the Red Sox. Toronto (44-45) moved into a tie with the New York Yankees for second place in the American League East.
Rios, who also doubled and scored in the third, improved to 6-for-8 with three doubles and a homer in two games since the All-Star break. He has hit safely in eight straight games, batting .500 with five doubles and 10 RBIs.
“I’ve seen him awfully good,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He may take it to a new level now that he’s played in that All-Star game. I think he probably enjoyed that.”
Rios was voted by his peers into the 2006 All-Star same, but missed it while on the disabled list with a staph infection in his left leg. He was an All-Star again this year, but didn’t get into the game until the ninth inning—as a defensive replacement.
Despite not getting an at-bat in the game, Rios finished second to Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero in the Home Run Derby, launching 12 homers in the second round to advance to the final. Rios has continued to hit the ball hard ever since.
“I’m seeing the ball good,” Rios said. “The first couple games I’ve felt great.”
The Blue Jays scored two runs with two outs off Boston reliever Kyle Snyder (1-2) in the sixth to take the lead for good.
Vernon Wells drew a two-out walk, then scored on Johnson’s double to right. Johnson scored the go-ahead run on Rios’ hard-hit double to left.
Snyder allowed two runs and two hits in 1 2-3 innings for the Red Sox, who have lost four of five but still lead the AL East by 10 games.
The Red Sox had two men on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Jeremy Accardo wrapped up his 12th save by getting David Ortiz and Ramirez out on hard liners to end the game. Accardo allowed a hit in 1 1-3 innings, walking one and striking out one.
“We’ve seen David (win games) so often,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Then Manny rifles the ball to right but it didn’t find the outfield grass. It was a great swing.”
After allowing all five of Boston’s runs in the first three innings, Marcum (5-3) settled down to earn his first win since June 16, and improve to 4-1 since joining the rotation on May 13.
Marcum, who spent the first six weeks of the season in the bullpen, allowed seven hits and one walk in six innings. He gave up three earned runs and struck out six.
In his first start since allowing a season-worst eight runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings in a 9-4 loss to Cleveland on July 7, Marcum got off to another ominous start when he gave up a two-run homer to Ramirez in the first.
Ramirez, who hadn’t homered since June 20, then had an RBI single and Lowell hit his triple in a three-run third that gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead.
But Marcum settled down, allowing one more hit—a single by Lowell to lead off the sixth.
Boston starter Julian Tavarez struggled with his control while allowing four runs and nine hits in four innings.
“When you are always 3-1, 2-0, 3-1, 2-0, you can’t do your job,” Tavarez said. “You can’t get comfortable. I need to go out there and get strike one right away and go from there.”
Ramirez has 54 career homers against Toronto, his most against any team. … Boston OF J.D. Drew left the game because of tightness in his right hamstring. Drew doubled to lead off the third and later scored. He was replaced in the field by Eric Hinske in the fourth. … Boston RHP Brendan Donnelly (strained right forearm) was scratched from his scheduled rehab assignment in Single-A Lowell after experiencing tightness in his forearm while warming up. … At 27-20, Toronto owns the best record in the majors against Boston since 2005. … Toronto 3B Troy Glaus had two hits and an RBI after batting just .176 in his previous 10 games.