BOSTON (AP) -
went from his shortest start in 15 years to one of his best of the season. The
Boston Red Sox
showed they can bounce back from disappointment, too.
Wakefield pitched eight innings of shutout ball to help the
stop their AL East slide with a 7-0 victory over the
Toronto Blue Jays
on Friday night. Six days after lasting just 1 2-3 innings against Texas, the 42-year-old knuckleballer gave up just three
hits and retired his last 13 batters before
got the last three outs.
''Getting through eight was a huge swing from last time,'' Wakefield said. ''It's always nice to go out in the ninth and try,
but I thought the smart thing was to stop it there. ... Shutouts are nice, but the most important thing is to win the game.''
hit a three-run homer,
each drove in a pair of runs and the
improved to two games out in the AL East behind Tampa Bay. Boston had lost its previous two games on the Rays' last at-bat
to miss a chance to take the division lead.
Tampa Bay's game against the
New York Yankees
on Friday night was rained out and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. Boston and Toronto will also play two
on Saturday to make up for an Aug. 15 rainout, which made it even more important that Wakefield was able to go deep into the
''We've got a lot of baseball tomorrow,'' said
, whose team took a six-game lead in the AL wild-card race over Minnesota. ''It worked out well.''
Rain threatened the
, but they were able to finish up despite a 41-minute delay at the start and a drizzle through much of the game. Toronto lost
for just the second time in 13 games, unable to muster anything against Wakefield (9-10), who walked none while striking out
''Unfortunately, we've put ourselves in must-win situations for about the last month,'' said
, who had two errors. ''We've responded, played well but ran into Wakefield tonight. He pitched well and they got the first
game. Come out tomorrow and hopefully take two.''
(3-6) allowed three earned runs and six hits with two walks in 6 2-3 innings, striking out six for Toronto. He gave up Lowrie's
sacrifice fly in the second and a run-scoring double to Lowrie in the fourth and left after allowing a two-run double to Ortiz
in the seventh.
''It's just something to look forward to next year with this kid,''
said. ''I think he's going to be all right. I really do.''
Toronto trails Boston by 7 1/2 games in the standings, but the
play Boston six more times this season.
''If it doesn't come out too good tomorrow, then you might be thinking, 'Well, do we have a chance to catch them?''' Gaston
said. ''But right now we'll just go home and come back and see if we can't win a couple.''
Lowrie had another double in the seventh, and
also had two hits for Boston. Cash homered in the eighth against
to make it 7-0.
Notes: J.D. Drew, who hasn't played since Aug. 17, had an injection to treat his stiff back and left the team because of a
death in the family. He will rejoin the team in Tampa Bay next week, Francona said. OF
Jonathan Van Every
was called up as a reserve. ...
extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a seventh-inning infield single. ..
, who's played just twice since Aug. 19 because of a sore neck, is also expected to play in one game on Saturday. ...
snapped his season-high 12-game hitting streak.