Jays beat Sox to avenge embarrassing loss

Ricky Romero isn’t quite done exorcising his Boston demons.

The lefty (15-10) pitched eight innings, allowing only six hits and three earned runs to set a new career high for victories as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 5-4.

Toronto leaves Boston with a series split and a little dignity after suffering an 18-6 loss at Fenway on Tuesday.

Adam Loewen contributed to the cause by driving in the game-tying and winning RBIs in the top of the eighth inning, while Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson each had a run and an RBI on the afternoon.

Boston starter John Lackey (12-12) pitched a relatively calm 5 1/3 innings allowing seven hits and only two runs while striking out four.

Adrian Gonzalez had a solo home run and Marco Scutaro, Jason Varitek and Ryan Lavarnway each drove in a run of their own for the Red Sox.

The Jays (75-74) put Lackey to the test early in the first inning as Eric Thames reached base with a single followed by Jose Bautista being served a four-pitch walk, increasing his season total to 116.

Encarnacion hit a two-out line drive up the middle of the infield to cash in Thames for the first run of the game.

Johnson then hit a bloop single to left centre that brought Bautista home and moved Encarnacion to third, however both runners were left on base and Lackey escaped a 31-pitch first inning down 2-0.

The Red Sox (86-62) offence got rolling a little in the second. With Dustin Pedroia on third and Kevin Youklis on first, a ground ball by Lavarnway was bobbled by third baseman Brett Lawrie leaving all runners safe and scoring Boston’s first run of the game.

A wild pitch advanced all the runners eliminating a chance at a double play, which came in handy when Varitek tied the game 2-2 on a fielder’s choice grounder to second.

Boston took the lead in the bottom of the third after MVP candidate Jacoby Ellsbury ripped a triple to right field to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Scutaro to give the Sox the 3-2 lead heading into the fourth.

The Jays continued to produce scoring chances and in the sixth they were pressing again. Lackey hit Lawrie giving him a free pass to first, then in an attempt to catch the rookie stealing, the ball ended up in the outfield allowing the runner to take third with no outs on the board.

Franklin Morales replaced Lackey one out later and shut down the Jays for the inning.

A Loewen grounder gave Lawrie a shot at bowling over Varitek, but the veteran catcher held onto the ball for the out. Then with two gone, before throwing another pitch, Morales picked off Loewen to end the inning.

Lawrie would leave the game with what is being called a leg contusion.

It didn’t get any better for Toronto in the bottom half. Gonzalez sent the first pitch he saw to right centrefield to extend the lead to 4-2.

But the Blue Jays just wouldn’t go away and it finally paid off.

In the top of the eighth, Encarnacion made it to first with a single, Johnson was walked and Teahan bunted his way to first with the help of an error by Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard.

A fumbled grounder at third base by Kevin Youklis took a way a bases-loaded double play opportunity and the fielder’s choice out at first brought Toronto to within one.

Loewen completed the comeback with a base hit up the middle that scored Johnson and Teahan giving the Jays a 5-4 lead.

Starting in centrefield, Loewen saw eight pitches against Bard before finally putting a hit into play. He told Sportsnet after the game it’s necessary in the major leagues to have long battles at the plate sometimes.

“It was just one of those bats where he [Bard] was aggressive in the zone with runners in scoring position and I was looking for something up, I didn’t really get it, so I got to two strikes and fouled some pitches off and took some close pitches,” he said.

“When you get to this level you really have to be on your toes up at the plate and try and foul the good pitches off and get one you can drive.”

He kept the right pitch within the foul lines and it was all Toronto needed as Frank Francisco would come in to finish off the game and grab the save.