Adam Lind hit three home runs and the Toronto Blue Jays held off a late rally by the Boston Red Sox to win, 8-7, on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
For the second consecutive night the Blue Jays put up four runs in the first inning, and at least temporarily spoiled Boston’s hopes of clinching the American League wild card.
Boston could still grab a postseason berth by night’s end, as their magic number remained at one.
The Texas Rangers played a late game at Anaheim, and a loss by Texas would guarantee Boston a sixth playoff berth in seven years.
Ricky Romero labored through five innings for his first win in five tries against Boston this season, outpitching fellow youngster Clay Buchholz, who allowed a career-worst five home runs.
Romero (13-9) gave up two runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three.
Buchholz (7-4) found things tough right from the start, as two of the first three Blue Jays hitters took him deep. Jose Bautista led off the game with his tenth home run, a rocket that sailed beyond the Green Monster seats in left.
After Aaron Hill singled, Lind then launched his 33rd of the season to dead centre to give the Jays a 3-0 lead.
As they did on Monday, the Sox responded in the first, as Victor Martinez drove in his 103rd run, singling home Dustin Pedroia.
Hill launched a hanging curveball from Buchholz into the Monster seats in the second to give the Jays a 5-1 edge, his team-leading 36th. But once again, Romero was generous in the bottom half.
Jason Bay, who led off the inning with a walk, came home on Romero’s sixth wild pitch of the season to make it 5-2.
The barrage of long balls didn’t stop, however, as the Jays touched Buchholz for solo shots by Kevin Millar in the third and Lind’s second of the game in the fifth.
Lind then capped his tremendous night with a drive to right off reliever Takashi Saito in the seventh.
But as is prone to happen at Fenway Park, things got interesting in the bottom of the eighth as the Red Sox scored five runs to pull within one.
With two outs, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz hit RBI doubles.
Then, two batters later, J.D. Drew drilled a three-run homer off of Shawn Camp, prompting manager Cito Gaston to turn to his closer Jason Frasor to get the final four outs.
Frasor allowed a single and a walk in the bottom of the ninth, but froze Kevin Youkilis with a fastball to end the threat and pick up his 11th save.
Toronto is assured of its first series win at Fenway in 2009 after it had lost the first six meetings there this season.
The series wraps up tomorrow with the Jays sending ace Roy Halladay (16-10, 2.90) to the hill in search of the sweep. Boston counters with Tim Wakefield (11-4, 4.33).