Cast by the vast majority of experts as the Boston “Dead Sox,” the “Surprising Sox” took a series from the pundits’ erstwhile AL East winners, the Toronto Blue Jays, and now lead MLB with a 20-8 record, winning 71% of their games.
Both teams were frustrated offensively, leaving a total of 40 men LOB [Left On Base], but the Sox managed 3 runs on 7 hits, while Boston hurlers held the Jays to one run on six hits.
Toronto jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a Brett Lawrie HR in the first frame, but the Sox went ahead to stay with two in the second inning:
Mike Napoli doubled (15); Nava struck out swinging; Middlebrooks walked; Carp singled to score Mike Napoli from second base with Middlebrooks moving to 2nd; David Ross walked, shoving Middlebrooks to 3rd and Carp to 2nd; Drew flew out on a sacrifice plating Middlebrooks.
The Sox tacked on what proved to be an extraneous run in the 6th on an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury.
Sox starter Dempster weathered a nascent Toronto rally; after walking three batters, Juan Encarnacion helped Dempster by hit a 2-0 pitch into an inning-ending double play.
Dempster, 35, sailed through his three remaining innings, permitting only one runner, finishing with a flourish: bagging seven straight Jays. Dempster gave up four hits, 3 BBs, striking out four and reducing his ERA to 3.00.
Junichi Tazawa kept Dempster’s win alive by striking out Adam Lind with the bases jammed.
Fueling rumors that Farrell-annointed closer Andrew Bailey may still be injured, Joel Hanrahan, after allowing a leadoff single, got pinch-hitter Rajai Davis to pop out and Munenori Kawasaki to hit into an inning-ending double, recorded his 100th career save.
The experts’ underdog Red Sox have won five of six games from the favored Blue Jays this season.
The Sox fly to Texas tonight to face the Rangers tomorrow night [8:05 EST] in a battle of lefties Felix Doubront, 3-0, 4.24, who is averaging 11.19 Ks per 9 innings and Derek Holland, 1-2, 3.38, who had, in his last start, held the Twins to only five hits and three earned runs in seven innings in the 7-2 loss.