Victorino delivers in 11th
TORONTO – With his bat and his arm, Shane Victorino played a huge part in Boston’s latest dramatic win.
Victorino threw a runner out at home plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, then hit a two-run single in the top of the 11th as the Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Tuesday.
Victorino delivered his hit on a 1-2 pitch from Aaron Loup, helping Boston win in its final at-bat for the 19th time this season.
“I’m just trying to put the ball in play,” Victorino, one of the major leagues’ two active Maui-born players, was quoted as saying on the team’s website. “Once I got down two strikes I was trying to get a ball I could handle. Fortunately I got a ball out over the middle of the plate and was able to put it through to center field and get the two ribbies.”
Koji Uehara (3-0) worked 1 1/3 innings for the victory as Boston won for the ninth time in 13 games at Rogers Centre.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia started the winning rally with a one-out walk off Loup (4-5) and Will Middlebrooks followed with a single. Jacoby Ellsbury grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Middlebrooks forced at second and Saltalamacchia advancing to third. Ellsbury then stole second before Victorino’s single up the middle.
“He’s a huge piece to why we’re playing good baseball,” teammate Dustin Pedroia said of Victorino, in his first season with Boston. “He’s a winning player and a big reason why our team has been successful.”
The American League East leaders have 28 comeback wins this year.
In the sixth, Toronto’s Jose Reyes walked and went to second on a groundout. One out later, third-base coach Luis Rivera waved Reyes around on a sharp single to right by Edwin Encarnacion, but Victorino made a strong throw to the plate.
“I knew the ball was hit hard. At first I kind of wondered if they were going to send him,” Victorino was quoted as saying. “The thought went through my mind, but I still had to come up and throw and make the best throw I could.”
Victorino has eight assists this season, the most by a Boston right fielder since Trot Nixon had nine in 2005.
“To me, defensively, he might be the best right fielder in baseball right now, just because of his range and his ability to throw,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
The Blue Jays’ Todd Redmond permitted three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
“We’ve had some good pitching these last few days but our offense has just dried up,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons.