POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 14, 2013
TORONTO >> Shane Victorino played a huge part in Boston’s latest comeback win.
Victorino threw a runner out at the plate in the sixth inning, then hit a two-run single in the 11th and the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Tuesday night.
It was the 19th time in 72 victories this season that the Red Sox have won in their final at-bat, meaning more than a quarter of their wins have come at the last opportunity.
It was also the 28th comeback win of the year for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who have overcome deficits in seven of their past nine victories.
“Much like we’ve seen of late here, if we get down early we continue to grind, continue to be relentless at the plate, provide or build opportunities,” manager John Farrell said.
Few players have been as vital on that front as Victorino.
“He’s a huge piece to why we’re playing good baseball,” infielder Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s a winning player and a big reason why our team has been successful.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia started the winning rally with a one-out walk off Aaron 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 stole second before Victorino grounded a two-run single up the middle.
“He’s a very good player,” Farrell said. “He’s going to find a way to contribute, find a way to make a play.”
Koji Uehara (3-0) worked 11⁄3 innings for the victory as the Red Sox won for the ninth time in 13 games at Rogers Centre, and rebounded after losing three of four at Kansas City last weekend.
“It was a big win for us to go out there and pull that one out,” Boston starter Ryan Dempster said.
Trailing 2-1, the Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the eighth when J.P. Arencibia hit a leadoff home run off Junichi Tazawa. The homer was Arencibia’s 18th and his first since July 19.
Of the eight home runs allowed by Tazawa this season, five have been hit by Blue Jays batters. Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Jose Reyes have all connected off Tazawa.
Arencibia’s blast spoiled a strong performance by Dempster, who allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. Dempster walked two and struck out four.
“I felt like I was able to make pitches when I was behind in the count, which is huge,” Dempster said.
“I had a real good split tonight — that’s probably what kept them off balance more than anything.”