The Toronto Blue Jays know how to spoil a party.
Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, baseball’s oldest player, was a mere six outs away from picking up his 200th career victory, until a five-run, eighth-inning implosion by Boston’s bullpen cost him the win Wednesday night.
Edwin Encarnacion led the charge with five RBIs in an 11-10 come-from-behind victory over the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.
Trailing 8-6, and the game seemingly in the books, the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the eighth.
Reliever Daniel Bard struck out Dewayne Wise and Yunel Escobar, but proceeded to lose his control, walking Eric Thames and Jose Bautista back-to-back, tying the game at eight.
Encarnacion then blew the contest wide open with a bases-clearing double off Matt Albers, relieving Bard, who was billed for five earned runs in a single inning pitched.
Frank Francisco kept Jays fans on their toes in the bottom of the ninth, surrendering a solo homer to Adrian Gonzalez and an RBI single to Marco Scutaro, before catcher Jose Molina caught Mike Aviles trying to steal second, silencing the threat.
Shawn Camp (4-3) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win, while Bard (2-6) was tagged with the loss.
Wakefield still looking
Wakefield, the two-time World Series champion, tossed five innings for Boston (85-57), giving up three hits with four earned runs, while walking and striking out three.
The monumental 200 win feat has been eluding the Melbourne, Fla. native since procuring No. 199 on July 24, in a 12-8 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Brandon Morrow had a forgettable night on the mound for Toronto (71-72), lasting 4 1/3 innings, surrendering eight hits and eight earned runs while striking out five.
J.P Arencibia set a new franchise mark for home runs by a catcher in a season, launching his 21st,, a two-run bomb to deep centre in the second inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury marshaled the Red Sox offence with a three-run home run, his 25th of the season, in a four-run Boston fourth, while David Ortiz added a solo shot.
The former Jay Scutaro picked up three RBI, including a pair in the first that gave the Sox an early 3-0 lead. On Tuesday, Scutaro had racked up four hits, including three doubles and four RBI in a 14-0 Boston win over Toronto.
Jays came back twice
Encarnacion’s sacrifice fly in the first put the Jays on the board, and after Arencibia’s long ball tied the game, Toronto briefly took a 5-3 lead when Scutaro misfired to home on a double steal by Bautista and Brett Lawrie.
Toronto’s lead was cut to one when Josh Reddick’s bloop-double to centre scored Carl Crawford in the fourth, setting the table for Ellsbury’s power stroke.
Ortiz provided what was ostensibly the dagger with a no-doubter to the second deck in the fifth, putting the Sox ahead 8-5.
Encarnacion, who is making a convincing case with his recent play for the Blue Jays to bring him back next season, cut the Boston lead to two with a seventh-inning single that scored Escobar, and then provided the go-ahead stoke an inning later.
Former Orioles pitcher and Canadian Adam Loewen recorded his first major-league hit in the eighth inning; the September call-up is a converted fielder who hit .306 this season with Triple-A Las Vegas.