BOSTON - After five years wandering aimlessly in baseball’s wilderness, the Blue Jays left Fenway Park on Thursday evening in an unfamiliar position: First place, all alone, in the American League East.
They had just completed a three-game sweep of the sputtering Red Sox with a 7-2 victory and, for the first time since May 23, 2009, they sit by themselves atop the division.
“If we’re talking in September and we’re in first, it will mean something to me then,” said Jose Bautista, who hit his 12th homer, one pitch after Melky Cabrera had opened the scoring with his eighth homer, in the first inning.
“To be honest, the only time that it counts is after the regular season is over. We still have a long road ahead of us and we’re not going to settle and we’re not going to look at being in first place now and sit back.”
After winning five of six on this road trip, the Jays now sit four games over .500, heading home to the Rogers Centre where they will play 16 of their next 19 games, beginning with three against the red-hot Oakland Athletics starting tonight.
In the process, Mark Buehrle became the first major-league pitcher to reach eight wins this season, tossing a seven-hitter over seven innings, walking none and striking out five.
“It’s nice, obviously,” he said. “But I can go out in the next eight starts and crap the bed and be under .500 and no one will remember about how the season started.”