Bad call costs Blue Jays

Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil reacts after giving up an RBI double to Red Sox batter Jason Varitek...

Blue Jays starter Brett Cecil reacts after giving up an RBI double to Red Sox batter Jason Varitek at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. July 5, 2011. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

BOSTON - It was a bang-bang play at the plate to end the game, and in the end it was the Toronto Blue Jays who lay dead in the dust.

A ninth-inning rally by the Jays ended in a 3-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox after home plate umpire Brian Knight called it a night by signaling Edward Encarnacion out at the plate following a two-out single by John McDonald.

Encarnacion had attempted to score from second.

While Boston catcher Jason Varitek blocked the plate with his left foot and held on to a perfect throw from left fielder Darnell McDonald, replays showed that his sweep tag never touched Encarnacion, who made contact with the plate with his right leg.

“We should still be playing right now,” fumed Jays manager John Farrell. “That play is right in front of Brian Knight. It was clear that Edwin did a good job sliding around the plant leg of Varitek, but his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now, we should be out on that field playing.”

Was he stunned by the call?

“After the replay, absolutely, because again, from our vantage point Edwin is right in line with the play at the plate,” Farrell said. “But the wide margin which he missed the tag, a little bit surprised that the call went that way.”

The Jays appeared to be dead in the water entering the ninth as they trailed 3-0 and had managed but two hits.

Out of the bullpen came Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox closer, who on the season was 17-for-18 in save situations.

But the Jays still had life in them.

Toronto's Corey Patterson led off with a single and when Jose Bautista followed with a moon shot into the light standards atop the Green Monster — his 28th home run of the season — the Fenway crowd drew silent.

One out later, Encarnacion singled and with two out, J.P. Arencibia drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch.

McDonald followed with a single to left on a 0-2 pitch, but the perfect throw and the block by Varitek was good enough for Knight to call Encarnacion out.

For his part, Encarnacion declined to talk about the play.

Jon Lester started the game for Boston and no-hit the Jays over four innings but had to leave the game due to a strained muscle in his upper back. Three Red Sox relievers then held the Jays in check leading up to Papelbon’s entrance in the ninth.

On the Jays side of the pitching ledger, they received a solid performance from lefty Brett Cecil in his second start since being recalled from triple-A Las Vegas.

He came up with the first complete game of his career as he held the Red Sox to the three runs on seven hits, including a solo home run by Dustin Pedroia in the third.

“He pitched a very good ball game,” Farrell said. “He made a couple of mistakes early on, left some pitches up in the zone.

“He did his job. It was very encouraging to see him continuing to make progress. He threw the ball very well on a night when we didn’t really mount anything until the end. He continued to make pitches right to the end.”

Perhaps the biggest downer for Farrell this game was turned in by Patterson in the sixth.

The Jays appeared to finally have something going as they had runners on first and second, two out and Adam Lind at the plate.

But with the count 1-1, Patterson took off for third way too early. Reliever Matt Albers stepped off the mound and fired to third to cut down Patterson by a healthy margin.

“That was a poor decision, a poor decision to try to make something happen when we’ve got really the only rally, or anything really started, to that point in time in the game,” Farrell said. “Your four-hole hitter up, that was a poor decision.”

The criticism was especially stinging given the fact that Farrell almost never criticizes his players.

In the end the Jays were left to swallow bitter ash, not the taste of victory.

Still, McDonald drew some positives from the tough loss.

“I feel like the way we’ve been playing, the way we battled against (Phillies starter Roy Halladay) the other day, the way we battled against (Phillies starter) Cliff Lee, a big win carrying over to yesterday, and to not give up today to get a few runs, get a few more guys on base against an excellent closer, it says a lot about our club,” he said.

In the books, it says the Jays lost 3-2.


Videos

Photos