Blue Jays hang on against BoSox

Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista is congratulated by manager John Farrell and Travis Snider.  ...

Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista is congratulated by manager John Farrell and Travis Snider. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:14 AM ET

BOSTON -- Fenway Park on a cold night against the Red Sox is just about the last place a starting pitcher wants to be when he is searching for answers.

But that is exactly where the Blue Jays Brett Cecil found himself Friday night.

It is a tough enough park to pitch in and the Red Sox have a lethal enough lineup so you don't want to walk to the mound thinking about problems with your mechanics and loss of velocity.

Adding to Cecil's pre-game angst was the knowledge that in his very first start here -- May 20 of 2009 -- he was hammered for five home runs, four of them in one inning. In that game he allowed eight runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings, so he knows all too well what can occur here when you are not at your best.

So, it would be an easy guess to say that there was a lot of negativity rattling around inside Cecil's head.

Both Cecil and the Jays, however, overcame waves of negativity before pulling this one out 7-6 to take the series opener.

It could easily have all fallen apart for Cecil in the third when Dustin Pedroia teed off on a 2-0 pitch and drove it into the seats atop the Green Monster in left.

Cecil then walked Adrian Gonzalez on four pitches and that mistake turned into a 3-0 deficit when Kevin Youkilis hammered a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers in centre.

Holy home run horror.

It really was a six-run swing.

Cecil could have taken a 3-0 lead to the mound before throwing a pitch but for the umpire's review that negated what initially was ruled a three-run homer by Adam Lind.

With two on and on a 1-1 pitch, Lind lined a shot off Clay Buchholz towards Pesky's Pole in right that appeared to hit the line atop the short wall just in front of the foul pole. First base ump Paul Nauert ruled home run and after Lind cleared the bases the Red Sox objected which led to the review.

Brought back to the plate, Lind ground out and Aaron Hill struck out leaving Cecil with zero runs instead of a three-run cushion.

However, neither the Jays, nor Cecil, nor Corey Patterson folded their tents after the third.

"This team's not going to give up and neither am I," Cecil said after getting the win. "We're going to do what it takes."

Patterson, who had six hits and four RBIs in his first three games since taking over for the injured Rajai Davis, came through again with a two-out, two run triple to right in the fifth to cut Boston's lead to one. Travis Snider tied it 3-3 with a double off the wall putting the game back in Cecil's left hand. Over his final three innings it was three up, three down.

In the seventh the Jays pulled ahead 7-3 against Bobby Jenks on RBI singles by Jose Bautista, Lind and Hill with another run scoring on a wild pitch.

The Jays didn't make it easy on themselves as they had yet another eighth inning hiccup allowing three Boston runs to make it a one-run lead.

Then Jon Rauch slammed the door ...

BEST FOR LAST

Following a shaky eighth where the Jays allowed three runs on two hits and a key two-run double by Marco Scutaro, Rauch was called on to close it out in the ninth.

The right-hander earned his third save with gusto as he retired the side on 10 pitches, nine of them strikes.

"Guys battled all night and gave us a chance to win, especially with our rally (in the seventh)," Rauch said. "Cecil did a heck of a job sticking with his game plan and not getting rattled early on after given up a couple of runs. It's a group effort when we go out there and these guys battled. The least I can do is go out there and do my job."

MEMORIES ARE MADE

Prior to the game, Jays manager John Farrell, as expected, was the subject of intense interest having been the Red Sox pitching coach the past four seasons. There were so many requests for interviews, the Jays had Farrell conduct his pre-game interview in the Red Sox post-game interview room which is located just off their weight room.

He said he has looked forward to this day for awhile.

"Yes and no," he replied. "Yes in the fact that there's no denying that spending four years in this organization and working with the people that I did is a highlight of a personal and professional career.

"At the same time I know how close that wall (Green Monster in left) can get and hopefully we've got our ground ball pitchers at their best."

After he got through the game with a win, he was asked if it was special.

"They are all good wins and this was a tough win, no doubt about it," he said. 'We fully anticipate a very good series but I think given the individual circumstances, yeah, this is a good win for us.

"This isn't about me, it's about our team and I don't mean to defer the question. Yeah this is a special place to come to and it's even more special when you've got a group of guys like that and go out and win."

Will he take a momento home, the lineup card perhaps?

"No ... no ..... no."

So much for sentiment.


Videos

Photos