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Pierzynski slam paces Red Sox

By Larry Millson
The Sports Xchange

April 26. 2014 8:34PM
Boston relief pitcher Koji Uehara (M) celebrates with designated hitter David Ortiz (34) and catcher A.J. Pierzynski after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 at Rogers Centre. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

TORONTO - Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow was so wild on Saturday that the Boston Red Sox's first hit of the day gave them a 5-3 lead.

That was a grand slam by catcher A.J. Pierzynski against right-handed reliever Chad Jenkins that keyed a six-run third inning.

The Red Sox (12-13) were able to hang on for a 7-6 victory, winning their second game in a row against the Blue Jays (11-13), who lost their fourth straight despite home runs from first baseman Juan Francisco and designated hitter Jose Bautista.

"We're sitting there with no hits on the board and then one hit with five runs on the board," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We'll take the free passes when we can get 'em."

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks also hit a home run for the Red Sox, who took advantage of a career-high eight walks by Morrow (1-2), who lasted only 2 2/3 innings and was charged with four runs even though he did not allow a hit.

"A lot of my pitches didn't miss by just a fraction of an inch," Morrow said. "I was all over the place for a lot of it."

Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz (1-2) overcame a three-run first inning to earn his first win of the season, allowing six hits, three walks and three runs over seven innings.

"I was too amped up for the start today at the beginning," Buchholz said. "Everything was up and I wasn't finishing that many pitches."

The Blue Jays scored twice in eighth. Francisco led off with his second home run of the season, a drive to center off right-handed reliever Junichi Tazawa.

Catcher Dioner Navarro and center fielder Colby Rasmus followed with singles. Third baseman Brett Lawrie forced Rasmus at second, but pinch hitter Edwin Encarnacion bounced an RBI single through right side to take advantage of the Red Sox shift.L



eft-hander Chris Capuano took over and struck out pinch hitter Jonathan Diaz, but shortstop Jose Reyes walked to load the bases.



Closer Koji Uehara ended the inning on a shallow fly to left by left fielder Melky Cabrera and went on to record his fifth save, despite allowing the seventh home run of the season by Bautista to lead off the ninth.

Navarro singled with one out and Lawrie singled with two out, but Encarnacion lined out to deep center to end the game.

"We are hard workers and we are going to grind things out," Middlebrooks said. "It's not always going to go our way. ... A couple innings were rough, but we really have a good group."

The Blue Jays led, 3-0, after the first inning.

Reyes walked and reached third when Cabrera sliced a single to left. Bautista singled in a run, Cabrera scored from third on a wild pitch and Navarro singled in the final run.

But the Red Sox scored six in the third.

Morrow walked four straight batters with two out to force in a run. Jenkins, just recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, allowed Pierzynski's second home run of the season and his eighth career grand slam, plus the second home run of the season by Middlebrooks.

"It's not a good feeling when you take the blame for the game and put it squarely on your shoulders," Morrow said. "I came in with one goal, to pitch late into the game. I let down the team in a big way."

Said Toronto manager John Gibbons: "He just didn't throw strikes, it's pretty simple. And it's a simple solution. We've walked too many guys all year. Everybody. And that's not like us because we've got some strike throwers.

"We're going to get better. We've got good defense working, throw it over the plate and let those guys work behind you."

Jenkins allowed one-out fifth-inning doubles to first baseman Mike Carp and left fielder Grady Sizemore to give Boston a 7-3 lead.

Red Sox/MLB