Shaun Marcum and Jason Frasor combined on a two-hitter, and
Toronto moved into second place in the AL East with a 5-0 victory
over the Red Sox on Monday night.Alex Rios and Bengie Molina homered for the Blue Jays, who are a
half-game ahead of Boston. Toronto has finished third in the AL
East seven of the past eight years, the exception being a
last-place finish in 2004.
With their win over the Red Sox on Monday, the Blue Jays leapfrogged Boston into second place in the AL East. The Blue Jays have not been above third place anytime after the midway point of a season since Sept. 27, 2000, when they were 83-75. The Blue Jays finished third in the division that year after the Red Sox passed them in the season's final week.
That leaves the Devil Rays, Brewers and Pirates as the only major league teams that have not spent any days in first or second place in the second half of the season since 2001.
"A lot of guys are taking a lot of pride in this, trying to
finish ahead of the Red Sox," Marcum said. "Put our name No. 2
behind the Yankees and see what we can do next year."The Red Sox have come in second behind New York for eight
straight seasons.Toronto, which played its final home game of the year, hadn't
had sole possession of second place since April 26.After getting a shaving cream pie to the face during a
television interview after the game, manager John Gibbons declined
to wipe it off and kept on talking."It was a game where we were trying to pull into second
place," Gibbons said later. "We've got six left. Hopefully, we'll
finish strong. We gave the hometown fans some entertainment, that's
for sure."Attendance was 40,123 for a total of 2,302,212 this season -- the
Blue Jays' highest attendance since 1998. Toronto finished 50-31 at
home.The Red Sox played their last road game this season."We need to go home and try to have a good last five games.
We're not leaving here on very good note," said Boston manager
Terry Francona, whose team has lost three straight and five of
seven.Marcum (3-4) allowed only Alex Cora's infield single in the
sixth and Eric Hinske's single in the eighth. The rookie
right-hander struck out a career-high 10 and walked one in a
career-best eight innings, the 13th start of his career."Marcum pitched ahead the whole night," Francona said. "He
wasn't lighting up the radar gun, but he froze guys with his
fastball because he pounded the plate and stayed out of the
middle."David Ortiz fouled a ball into the fifth deck in right in the
seventh. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, leaving him tied
with Babe Ruth for the most home runs on the road in a season in AL
history (32)."Maybe he'll hit about six this week at home," Francona said.Frasor pitched a perfect ninth to complete Toronto's sixth
shutout of the season. The Red Sox were blanked for the seventh
time.Rios hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Tim Wakefield
(7-11).Wakefield didn't allow a hit until Jason Phillips singled with
two outs in the inning. After Wakefield walked Russ Adams, Rios
followed with his 17th homer."He had a good knuckleball going," Phillips said.
"Fortunately, the ball went down and I was able to hit it because
the ones that were away I looked dumb on."Molina's two-run shot off Wakefield in the sixth made it 5-0.Wakefield allowed five runs and five hits in six innings. The
knuckleballer made his third start after missing nearly two months
with a stress fracture in his rib cage.
Vernon Wells said he didn't think he played his last home
game for the Blue Jays. Wells, who is eligible for free agency
after next season, could be traded if the team is unable to sign
him to an extension this offseason. "I don't think it's going to
be," Wells said. "I've had a great five years here and I hope to
have more." ... The Red Sox finished 38-43 on the road.