BOSTON (AP)—The Red Sox survived another shaky outing by Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Boston, which opened a seven-game lead over the second-place Yankees, was ahead 10-1 before Toronto scored eight runs in the sixth and knocked out Matsuzaka (14-11), who had lost his previous three starts. The Japanese star has allowed 20 runs in his last 23 2-3 innings and gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings against the Blue Jays. The seven runs matched the most he’s allowed in his 28 major league starts, and his ERA has risen to 4.11 from 3.59 on Aug. 10.
Lowell went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer, two singles, and an intentional walk, increasing his hitting streak to 16 games. He also was safe on a two-run error by third baseman Troy Glaus and stole his third base of the season.
Lowell is 10-for-16 with eight RBIs in his last four games and is batting .333—well above his career high of .293 with Florida in 2004. Lowell has 101 RBIs, four shy of his career best, set in 2003.
The AL’s two best pitching staffs gave up 32 hits—16 apiece.
Matsuzaka left after putting six of the first seven runners on base in the sixth inning.
After the Blue Jays pulled within a run, Boston bounced back with three runs in the bottom half on Jason Varitek’s RBI single, Coco Crisp’s run-scoring sacrifice bunt and Jason Frasor’s balk. The Red Sox bullpen managed to hold the lead despite allowing Gregg Zaun’s RBI double in the seventh, with Jonathan Papelbon getting his 32nd save in 34 chances.
Jesse Litsch (5-7) gave up seven runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Boston (3.74) and Toronto (3.92) entered as the only AL teams under 4.00.
Boston added five runs in the fourth on a two-run single by Dustin Pedroia, Glaus’ error on a hard grounder between his legs and another sacrifice fly by Drew. Then the Red Sox allowed their biggest inning of the season, with Glaus hitting a three-run homer and Stairs doubling in two runs off Javier Lopez.
Lowell is the first Red Sox third baseman with more than 100 RBIs since Butch Hobson had 112 in 1977. … LHP Joe Kennedy allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning in his first appearance with Toronto. He pitched in 27 games for Oakland and three for Arizona, which designated him for assignment on Aug. 15. … Eric Hinske started in place of Boston 1B Kevin Youkilis, who struck out in all four of his at bats in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Baltimore. Youkilis came in on defense in the eighth. … RHP Matt Clement is to throw a simulated game on Wednesday, manager Terry Francona said. Clement has been sidelined all season after shoulder surgery last Sept. 26.