Blue Jays' bats get the job done for Alvarez

Blue Jays' bats get the job done for Alvarez

Blue Jays' bats get the job done for Alvarez
BOSTON -- The Blue Jays on Friday needed every bit of a lineup that hasn't been this deep in a long time.

Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia both returned from injuries, and Lawrie, the game's first batter, jumped right into the fray with a double and the first run scored in a 7-5 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Edwin Encarnacion drove in Lawrie and later hit his 38th homer, and Colby Rasmus provided the late-inning artillery as Boston battled back.

"Just before the game there, I kind of got a feel for the atmosphere again, took a big, deep breath," said Lawrie, who missed a month because of an injured oblique. "Just glad to be back."

Lawrie finished 1-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and Arencibia went 0-for-4, but the depth of the lineup was meaningful in itself. Moises Sierra's two-run shot to left in the fourth made it 4-0, and Toronto led, 5-0, going into the bottom of the fifth.

"It was great to see both guys. ... The energy that they bring with them individually and the fact we're able to write their names in the lineup is a good thing," manager John Farrell said. "Right off the get-go, Brett gets a ball right inside the first-base bag. And even though it wasn't one of his patented swings, it was almost like he picked up right where he left off."

Farrell was a hot topic before the game because of speculation that the Red Sox might want him as their manager if Bobby Valentine is dismissed. But Farrell's winning plenty of games at Fenway Park already.

The Blue Jays and Red Sox are virtually tied for last place in the American League East, but Toronto has won eight of 13 meetings this season, including five of seven and four straight at Fenway Park. Toronto hadn't won four straight in a single season at Fenway since 1989, and hadn't taken four straight overall from Boston since 2007.

"We've swung the bat very well here," Farrell said.

The Blue Jays had little trouble with Red Sox starter Felix Doubront, a young lefty who seems to be tiring late in the season. He lasted four innings plus one batter Friday.

Toronto's Henderson Alvarez was on point, with two runs allowed on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. The sink on his fastball kept the Red Sox out of the air, and it appeared at times to have the Sox annoyed with home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson's low strike zone. Alvarez's one strikeout came against Jacoby Ellsbury looking for the final out of the fifth with a man on.

Alvarez had lost his previous five decisions.

"He was powerful, he threw a lot of strikes, he kept the ball on the ground," Farrell said. "After the sixth inning, he said there was some stiffness in the back of the tricep, so we were going to [remove him] regardless of what took place ... in the seventh inning."

Farrell said that the triceps matter is to be monitored going forward, but he indicated that it isn't serious.

The bullpen held it together late as the lead started to slip away. Two batters after Alvarez was pulled in the seventh, left fielder Rajai Davis made a game-altering catch against the Green Monster in left to keep the score 5-2.

Boston's Mauro Gomez singled on a jam-shot off lefty reliever Darren Oliver, bringing in the second run for Boston. One pitch later, Scott Podsednik lifted a fly that Davis got turned around on, but he still managed to catch over his left shoulder, right in front of the out-of-town scoreboard. Gomez was easily doubled off, ending the inning.

"Oh yeah, I think it was hit better than I thought initially," Davis said. "Then I just tried to outrun it. Fortunately, I was able to catch it before I hit the wall. I knew the wall was going to be a close call. I was just hoping the wall would stand up."

That play proved particularly valuable when Dustin Pedroia homered to start the eighth against Steve Delabar, who finished the inning with a double play and Toronto up, 5-3.

Rasmus' two-run shot to right in the top of the ninth off Daniel Bard was a counter to the two-run homer Gomez hit in the bottom of the frame.

"When you've got your regulars, your everyday guys back," Farrell said, "not only does it add to the energy and the overall air of confidence to this group ... I know between them there was only one base hit tonight, but just their presence in the lineup gives us a different look."

Evan Drellich is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.