BOSTON(AP) Popup after popup,
could tell that his knuckleball had returned.
right-hander held Toronto to five hits over eight innings, and Boston got some help from the bottom of the batting order to
beat the AL East-leading
2-1 on Tuesday night.
''Swings and misses and popups are usually good signs the ball is moving pretty well,'' said Wakefield, who got 16 of his
24 outs on fly balls - eight of them that never left the infield. ''Tonight was just one of those nights when I had very good
stuff. I was trying to keep them off-balance and get a win.''
Wakefield (5-2) also got four groundouts and a caught stealing. He gave up a solo homer to former teammate
, but no other
made it as far as third base.
Another popup fell for a hit when second baseman
and first baseman
let it land between them with one out and one on in the eighth inning. But
gave Wakefield the chance to work out of trouble, and he got
on fly balls to left.
''It seemed like every time you looked up there was a popup to the infield,'' Francona said. ''We let the popup fall, and
we still felt like he was good enough to get them out. And he was.''
pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 11 chances.
, who got a weekend off to try to snap out of a slump, returned to the lineup but went 0 for 3 with a walk and saw his batting
average drop to .203. The slugger who hit 54 homers in 2006 has not homered in 147 at-bats dating to last September - the
longest slump of his career.
''I talked to him today,'' said Millar, a leader of the ''idiot'' clubhouse of 2004 that ended Boston's 86-year World Series
drought. ''The important thing is to have fun. You start off with a rough spot and everything gets magnified. He'll be OK.
He'll find his swing. It's not how you start off in April and May. It's what your average is at the end of the year.''
The crowd gave Ortiz a warm cheer for each of his first three plate appearances, but rose with a ''Papi!'' chant when he came
to bat with a runner on first in the eighth.
He struck out.
''I thought he had a tough night,'' Francona said. ''It's a lot better to talk about when we win.''
got their RBIs on a single by No. 8 hitter Bailey and a sacrifice fly from No. 9 hitter
(2-2) allowed two runs and four hits over six innings, walking two and striking out five. The game lasted just 2 hours, 13
''Nobody hit that ball,''
said. ''It was two well-pitched games.''
Wakefield had won four straight starts before allowing a season-high seven runs and 11 hits against the
Los Angeles Angels
are 14-4 at home, second-best in the majors behind the
Los Angeles Dodgers
extended his hitting streak to 14 games. ... It was the one-year anniversary of
's no-hitter. ... Toronto's
, who entered the night tied for the major league lead with 61 hits, singled in the eighth and went 1 for 4. ... Wakefield,
with 201 strikeouts against Toronto, is the fourth pitcher to have at least 200 strikeouts against the