Jays rebound in Boston

KEN FIDLIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

BOSTON -- It was just idle talk to fill the game-day afternoon down time. In the middle of a five-game losing streak hope is all a manager has.

"Sometimes all it takes is a little bloop, a booted ball on the other side, something like that to get you going; a big defensive play to stop a rally," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "The guys who have track records are going to be there in the end, too. But when all is said and done, it comes back to your pitching."

Early on last night, it seemed as if Gibbons was prescient. By game's end, he was Nostradamus as the Jays broke through for a 7-3 win, using virtually all the elements he had mentioned hours earlier.

In the first inning, Vernon Wells' aggressive play forced a Boston error and gave the Jays a run.

Later on, after the game had taken a bad turn for Toronto, the Blue Jay with the best track record of them all -- Frank Thomas -- delivered in a big way. Wells walked to lead off the sixth with the Jays trailing by a run and then Thomas swatted an 0-1 pitch on a line to left-centre. It still was rising over the Monster seats when it collided with an advertisement for a Swedish automobile, almost ripping a third "O" in Volvo.

"It felt good to get a couple of hits two days in a row," said Thomas, who now has 490 career homers. "It does a lot for the psyche. I've been scuffling bad. I've always been a notoriously slow starter in April. I hope this is a signal of better times ahead."

By the time the Jays got to the Bermuda Triangle that has been the eighth inning, they led by two runs. It is a place where the Jays have learned to be afraid ... very afraid.

Twice before in the past five days Toronto had squandered two-run leads, gnawing away at the team's core of confidence. Not this time. Casey Janssen, Scott Downs, Jeremy Accardo and, finally, Jason Frasor mixed and matches against the tough Boston lineup through the final four innings.

Frasor got the last four outs, including David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez to end the game. Neither Ortiz nor Ramirez had a hit in the game.

"There's not a tougher combo in baseball," said Gibbons, of the Red Sox three and four hitters. "Our guys did great. We had a couple of games that got away from us but if you look over the course of the season, our bullpen has been pretty good."

Significantly, Frasor also got a boost from his offence when Aaron Hill launched his fourth hit of the game -- a two-run homer in the ninth to give Frasor a four-run lead to work with in the ninth.

Tomo Ohka, who broke into the majors with the Red Sox in 1999, did an excellent job of grinding it out against a tough Boston lineup that never gives in. He got through five innings, gave up six hits and three walks but just two earned runs and then the bullpen did the rest.


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