Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3

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TORONTO (AP)—Alex Cora saved the Boston Red Sox with his glove, then won the game with his bat.

Cora was upended on a double play, then tripled home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning as the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 Thursday and headed home to Boston with a victory going into their first series of the year against the New York Yankees.

Cora, playing at shortstop, was toppled by Lyle Overbay as he made the relay throw on a 1-6-3 double play that got Mike Timlin (1-0) out of an eighth-inning jam.

Vernon Wells led off with a double and advanced on Frank Thomas’ groundout. Overbay was walked intentionally to bring up Aaron Hill, who grounded back to the mound. Timlin’s throw was high and wide, but Cora caught the ball and got the relay throw off before Overbay sent him flying.

“It was a tackle,” Cora said. “I don’t mind people going hard, but when you see the replay, he’s going in with his hands up, he can’t reach the bag. I don’t mind when they go hard, but not with their hands up.”

Cora didn’t accuse Overbay of dirty play but said he doesn’t enjoy being taken out.

“That’s something I really don’t like in the game” Cora said. “That part really bothers me sometimes.”

Timlin said Cora did well to keep the throw from sailing into the outfield.

“He wasn’t as close to the bag as I thought he was,” Timlin said. “When I let it go I kind of short-armed the ball a little bit. He picked me up.”

Coco Crisp had reached on a bunt single against Roy Halladay leading off the top of the eighth, and Manny Ramirez tied it 3-3 with his first homer of the season, a two-out drive off Shaun Marcum (1-1).

“We’ve all seen Manny take one swing and then get in a groove for a long time,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “That would be tremendous.”

Marcum wasn’t happy with the pitch to Ramirez.

“The location was terrible,” Marcum said. “I think my little sister probably could have hit it just as far, if not further.”

Marcum walked former-Blue Jay Eric Hinske leading off the ninth, and Dustin Pedroia bunted into a forceout. Julio Lugo pinch ran, Jason Frasor relieved and Cora tripled up the alley in left-center on an 0-1 pitch.

“You’ve got to focus,” Cora said. “(Francona) asked me if I was all right, and I said, `Yeah, of course I’m going to be all right.’ I got a good pitch to hit and put the good part of the bat on it.”

Crisp followed with a sacrifice fly against Frasor, who is filling in as the Blue Jays’ closer while B.J. Ryan is on the disabled list with a sprained elbow.

Jonathan Papelbon got three outs for his fourth save in as many chances and the Red Sox won for the fifth time in six games. They open a three-game series against New York on Friday night.

“This is how you get to the playoffs, by winning series,” Red Sox starter Julian Tavarez said. “This is how you get to October.”

Thomas and Alex Rios homered for the Blue Jays.

Halladay allowed one run and six hits in 7 1-3 innings, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third when Ramirez grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Boston’s Julian Tavarez, pitching for the first time since an April 7 start at Texas, gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.

“Instead of being to the point where you get a little sluggish, his ball had a lot of life,” said Francona.

Hinske hit a second-inning sacrifice fly, but Thomas led off the bottom half with his 489th homer, his second this season. Rios doubled in the third to end an 0-for-15 slide and homered in the sixth. Vernon Wells chased Tavarez with an RBI double later in the inning.


Crisp went 2-for-4 with a pair of bunt singles, raising his average to .167. … Hill robbed Hinske of a hit with a diving stop at second to end the fourth inning. … Ryan spoke publicly for the first time since he was put on the DL Sunday. “It wasn’t right. I couldn’t throw a strike,” he said. “It was just something I hadn’t felt in a long time, (being) out there and not able to control any part of the situation trying to make pitches.” This is the first time in his nine-year career that Ryan has been on the DL. He’s expected to miss six weeks.

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