Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5

Matthew Carroll, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Jonny Gomes delivered the tie-breaking hit in the seventh inning, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 7-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Dustin Pedroia had three hits for the first-place Red Sox, who have won four straight games and five of their last seven. But they nearly blew this one, squandering an early 5-0 lead before Gomes rescued them.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Nava, Jose Iglesias and Stephen Drew added two hits apiece for Boston.
Toronto, which reeled off 11 straight wins earlier this month, had won 12 of its past 14 games and 15 of 19 entering this crucial four-game series against Boston.
After trailing 7-0 in the second inning of Thursday night's 7-4 loss to the Red Sox, the Blue Jays fell behind early again on Friday.
This time, though, they charged right back.
Toronto closed within 5-4 behind a three-run fifth inning and one run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Maicer Izturis.
Andrew Bailey - Boston's former closer who was demoted after struggling in late innings earlier this month - entered in the seventh and served up Edwin Encarnacion's 23rd home run of the season, a game-tying shot to straightaway center that ended any hope of Allen Webster earning his first career win.
But Boston responded in the bottom half against relievers Neil Wagner and Brett Cecil, loading the bases before Gomes entered as a pinch hitter and singled down the left-field line off Cecil to put the Red Sox back on top 6-5. Darren Oliver then walked in another run.
Wagner (1-2) took the loss for Toronto after being charged with two runs in 2/3 innings.
Andrew Miller (1-2) pitched a scoreless eighth and Koji Uehara recorded his third save in as many days with another perfect ninth. He has struck out six of the nine batters he's faced in that span, the first time all year he has pitched on three consecutive days.
Webster labored through the first three starts of his career, none worse than May 8 against Minnesota, when he was hammered for eight runs in just 1 2/3 innings.
The 23-year-old right-hander was far better against the Blue Jays this time, allowing four runs on six hits over six innings, striking out three and walking two.
Toronto's Josh Johnson struggled yet again, allowing five runs on eight hits over just 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two, and has one victory in nine starts this season.
This time, Johnson had trouble from the outset.
After retiring the first four batters he faced, Johnson walked Mike Napoli and surrendered a single to Nava. Drew then tripled to deep center, his third triple in his last four games, plating Napoli and Nava for a quick 2-0 Red Sox lead.
Boston tacked on another run in the third when Ellsbury singled, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a base hit to right by Napoli.
Ellsbury made it 5-0 with a looping, two-run single to right in the fourth.
Toronto finally got to Webster in the fifth, cutting the deficit to 5-3 on consecutive RBI singles by Jose Bautista and Encarnacion, and a sacrifice fly by Adam Lind.
NOTES: Lind has now hit safely in 25 of his last 32 games after singling in the second inning. ... With their victory Thursday, the 81st game of the year for Boston, the Red Sox made it 16 straight years with a winning record at the halfway point of the season. ... Boston manager John Farrell said before the game that LHP Jon Lester is expected to make his next start on Wednesday against San Diego after leaving Thursday night's game in the eighth inning with a jammed right hip. ... Toronto SS Jose Reyes recorded his first hit since returning to the team Wednesday after missing the past 66 games with a severely sprained left ankle. Reyes was a combined 0-for-7 with a sacrifice fly and walk through his first three games until singling with two outs in the third Friday. ... Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the third. ... Stephen Drew left the game with right hamstring tightness after doubling in the fourth. ... Boston has recorded 10 or more hits in six of its past seven games.

What to Read Next