Martin plays hero again, leads Blue Jays to 10th straight win
Once again, Russell Martin got the go-ahead hit for the Toronto Blue Jays. Then again, most everyone seems to be getting big hits for them lately.
Martin hit a leadoff home run in the 11th inning and the Blue Jays won their 10th consecutive game, beating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Saturday.
"We've seen him do it so many times this year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "You're winning a lot of games and it always makes it easier to show up. That's natural."
The winning streak is the Blue Jays' longest since they took 11 in a row in June 2013. And it followed a three-game losing streak that dropped their record to 23-30 and left them competing with the Red Sox to stay out of last place in the AL East.
Now, Toronto is 1½ games off the lead while Boston is 7½ back, in last place, after losing its fifth straight and falling a season-worst nine games under .500 at 27-36.
"We've got to show up tomorrow and play," Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia said. "We're all grown men. We can't start crying."
On Friday night, Martin hit a tiebreaking, bases-loaded triple during a nine-run burst in the seventh for a 13-10 victory. On Saturday, he drove a 2-0 fastball down the middle from Matt Barnes (2-2) deep into the left-center field stands for his 10th homer of the season.
But Martin recalled two earlier at-bats Saturday when he didn't come through on fastballs with counts of 2-0 and 3-0.
"Fool me once, fool me twice," he said, "but the third time I'm going to get you."
It capped a rough day behind the plate for Martin, who had three passed balls trying to snag R.A. Dickey's especially lively knuckler.
"At the end of a long day, get that big home run when we needed it," Gibbons said. "That's what he does."
Brett Cecil pitched a perfect 11th for his fourth save, and second in two days, to preserve the win for Aaron Loup (2-3).
Toronto took a 3-0 lead in the second when it loaded the bases on singles by its first three batters — Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Colabello and Martin. Any possibility of a repeat of Friday night's nine-run inning, when the first nine hitters scored before a batter was out, ended when Justin Smoak struck out.
But Kevin Pillar followed with an RBI single and Ryan Goins hit a two-run single.
The Blue Jays went ahead 4-0 in the fourth on consecutive singles by Pillar, Goins and Jose Reyes. Then they managed just three hits, all singles, in the next six innings.
The Red Sox began their comeback against Dickey with three runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Xander Bogaerts and a two-run single by Pablo Sandoval. They tied it in the sixth on David Ortiz's eighth homer of the season.
Boston wasted a bases-loaded opportunity with one out in the seventh when Liam Hendriks struck out Ortiz and Bogaerts.
"Middle of the order and big opportunity," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We were unable to cash in on it."
Toronto prevented another run in the third when Jose Bautista leaped at the right-center field fence in front of Boston's bullpen to take a potential leadoff homer away from Rusney Castillo.
Dickey retired 10 of his last 11 batters and allowed three earned runs or fewer for his third straight start. In six innings, he gave up three earned runs, six hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Blue Jays: DH Encarnacion played his fourth game since missing two with a painful left shoulder. He went 2 for 5 and is 6 for 15 since returning.
Red Sox: CF Mookie Betts missed the game with a sore back. He was hurt Friday night when he ran into the low fence near the Boston bullpen in right-center field while chasing Smoak's triple in the second. ... 3B Sandoval left Saturday's game in the top of the seventh with tightness in his right quadriceps. ... LF Hanley Ramirez started after missing Friday night's game with soreness in his left knee and left hamstring.
Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (3-3, 3.78) tries to win his third straight start in the finale of the three-game series. He's allowed three runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.
Red Sox: Rookie sensation Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 0.44) makes his fourth start since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket for his major league debut May 28. The lefty has allowed one run on eight hits with 21 strikeouts and seven walks in 20 2/3 innings.