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August 20, 2009

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Red Sox tie for wildcard lead

WITH ace Josh Beckett on the mound and a matchup with Toronto's Roy Halladay looming, this was a game the Boston Red Sox felt they needed to win. It didn't come easy, but they got it done.

David Ortiz homered and scored three times, including the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Red Sox held on to beat the Blue Jays 10-9 in Toronto on Tuesday night.

The victory, coupled with Minnesota's 9-6 win at Texas, moved the Red Sox into a tie with the Rangers for the American League wildcard race.

"We've got to try to win some games," Ortiz said. "We're against the ropes. It's all about winning games right now. That's it."

Left-hander Hideki Okajima (4-0) pitched one perfect inning for the win.

"That was a game that we really had to have," said Jason Bay, who hit his 26th homer. "We had Josh (Beckett) going and obviously they've got Halladay going (Wednesday)."

Elsewhere in the AL, it was: Angels 5, Indians 4; Tigers 5, Mariners 3; Rays 5, Orioles 4; Royals 5, White Sox 4; and Yankees 7, Athletics 2.

In the National League, it was: Phillies 5, Diamondbacks 1; Rockies 4, Nationals 3; Pirates 5, Brewers 2; Mets 9, Braves 4; Giants 8, Reds 5 (in 10 innings); Marlins 6, Astros 2; Padres 6, Cubs 3; and Dodgers 7, Cardinals 3.

In Toronto, Marco Scutaro hit a two-run single off Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth but the Boston closer held firm to earn his 29th save in 32 chances.

"There's something to be said for persistence," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "That was a very loseable game and it would have been heartbreaking. Because of the way the guys played, we ended up with a very difficult win."

Originally scheduled for a day off, Ortiz was pressed into action when catcher Jason Varitek was scratched because of muscle spasms in his neck. Ortiz finished 2 for 3 with two walks and three RBI.

Staked to an early four-run lead, Beckett's bid to become baseball's first 15-game winner ended when he gave up a game-tying, two-run homer to Rod Barajas in the sixth. He allowed seven runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.

Blue Jays rookie left-hander Ricky Romero didn't figure in the decision despite allowing a career-high six runs, five earned, and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.


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