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Gagne blows up again as Jays beat Sox

Sep 19, 2007 - 6:08 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Jon Lester helped put to rest recent concerns involving the Boston Red Sox's starting rotation. But Eric Gagne didn't do anything to limit concerns over the former Cy Young winner.

Gagne continued his struggles, surrendering three runs in the eighth inning, as the Red Sox dropped a 4-2 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

"I know he (Gagne) doesn't have any quit in him," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He works hard and he listens. We just have to get it right. I think that's easier said then done, but there's not really an alternative that we really want. We got to just get it right."

A.J. Burnett pitched well into the ninth inning for the Blue Jays (76-75), who crept back over .500. Meanwhile, the Red Sox (90-62) lost for its fourth time in five games and had its lead over the New York Yankees (87-64) drop to 2 1/2 games.

Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia knows the Yankees are inching closer, but says the Red Sox have to worry about themselves first and foremost.

"I don't think anybody is thinking about that," Pedroia said. "We need to play better then what we have been, that's about it."

Lester, who didn't get out of the fourth inning in his last start against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, yielded a run-scoring double to the third batter he faced - Alex Rios - and escaped a bases-loaded mess in the first by striking out Gregg Zaun.

"He (Lester) got himself into a little bit of bind in the first inning and worked himself out of it. And then really, really did a good job," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He's a maturing young pitcher that's for sure."

But the young lefthander settled down thereafter, yielding just a third-inning walk, a fourth-inning single and a seventh-inning walk before leaving with two outs in the seventh.

Lester allowed three hits and four walks and struck out five. It couldn't have come at a better time, as the Red Sox starters other than Josh Beckett were a combined 0-4 with a 7.94 ERA since September 7.

But Lester's positive performance quickly was lost in the eighth, when Gagne (3-2) was tagged for three runs after retiring the first two batters.

"I felt good. I felt good physically," Gagne said. "I walked Thomas and after that just didn't throw strikes. I got to go out there and stop thinking. I don't know, it's frustrating and I don't know what to tell you."

Gagne loaded the bases on two walks sandwiched around a base hit by Aaron Hill before losing Zaun on five pitches. Russ Adams followed by lining a 3-2 offering over the outstretched leap of J.D. Drew in right field for a two-run double and a 4-2 edge.

Gagne, who has missed some time with a sore shoulder, has yielded 14 runs in 14 innings since joining the Sox at the trade deadline, but Francona says he's going to let the former National League saves leader work himself out of it.

Catcher Jason Varitek was quick to echo Francona's comments.

"There's still some newness to work through," Varitek said. "That's not an excuse, but we need him (Gagne), and we need him to pitch well."

Burnett (9-7), who had dominated the Sox in three previous starts, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, allowed three runs and nine hits in 8 2/3 innings. He left after yielding a two-out homer to Julio Lugo, but Scott Downs got the last out for his first save.

Burnett walked three and struck out 11 for his fifth double-digit strikeout effort of the season, a new career high. He too has spent some time on the DL.

"Ever since I came back I've felt good mechanically," Burnett said. "I don't let the little things bother me anymore. I could careless if I give up a hit, I could careless if I walk a guy, I just have to make a pitch to get out of it and everything will take care of itself. I just make the pitches."

The Red Sox were able to break through against Burnett in the fourth. After an infield single to Mike Lowell and a walk to Drew, Jason Varitek doubled to the gap in left-center, scoring Lowell.

Boston struck again with two outs in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Rookie of the Year candidate Dustin Pedroia singled and David Ortiz followed by lining a double to left-center, scoring Pedroia.

Ortiz had struck out in his previous four at-bats before his RBI double.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BOSTON 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 9 0
    TORONTO 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 x 4 5 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BOS - JON LESTER, MANNY DELCARMEN (7TH), ERIC GAGNE (8TH) AND JASON
    VARITEK
    TOR - A.J. BURNETT, SCOTT DOWNS (9TH) AND GREGG ZAUN

    HOME RUNS: BOS - JULIO LUGO (7) O

    Sep 18 9:59 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JULIO LUGO (7) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF A.J. BURNETT.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 3, TORONTO 4
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J ELLSBURY (.372, 1-FOR-4)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 9:55 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 9:55 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY RUSS ADAMS SCORED AARON HILL AND MATT STAIRS.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, 1 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2
    TORONTO 4 END BOTTOM, 8TH

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 9:48 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO GREGG ZAUN SCORED CURTIS THIGPEN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G ZAUN ON FIRST, M STAIRS ON SECOND, A HILL
    ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2
    TORONTO 2 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: H LUNA (.174, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 9:44 PM
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    joegrav Added 5 roots

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 9:07 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED DUSTIN PEDROIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2
    TORONTO 1 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.330, 1-FOR-2)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 8:31 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JASON VARITEK SCORED MIKE LOWELL.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J VARITEK ON SECOND, J DREW ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 1
    TORONTO 1 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: B MOSS (.200, 0-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 8:14 PM
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    Yankee82 Added 5 roots

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  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ALEX RIOS SCORED VERNON WELLS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A RIOS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 0
    TORONTO 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: F THOMAS (.271, 25 HR, 91 RBI)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 18 7:23 PM
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    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysSep 10 8:47 PM