BOSTON - More than two hours of rain delays and a prank by his teammates didn't dampen Anthony Gose's mood after his first major league homer.
Gose drove in five runs and the Toronto Blue Jays moved out of the AL East's basement by beating the free-falling Boston Red Sox 9-2 on Saturday night in a game twice delayed by rain totalling 2 hours, 3 minutes.
Gose homered in the ninth — right around midnight — and his teammates had a little fun with him afterward, leaving a dirty, signed ball in his locker.
"I'm pretty sure it was fake and they wrote on it," he said, smiling. "I know I got a fake one, but that's good enough for me."
Yunel Escobar added a solo homer to spark a five-run second inning for Toronto, which has won five straight in Fenway Park — its longest streak since winning all six meetings in 1989.
It was the first time since July 29 that the Blue Jays haven't been in last place after they won their third straight to climb over the Red Sox.
"Really however long it takes to get a win, we'll stay all night if we have to," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said in his office, with music being blasted by the players in the clubhouse. "You can't say enough of what Brad Lincoln did coming out of the bullpen."
Scott Podsednik and Ciriaco had RBI singles for Boston, which lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
With Toronto leading 5-2 and two outs in the fifth — one away from an official game — heavy rain started when Jacoby Ellsbury was at-bat. Aaron Laffey threw two balls before crew chief Jeff Nelson called for the tarp for the second time.
After a 65-minute delay, Laffey became ineligible for the victory when he was replaced by Lincoln, who got Ellsbury to ground out. Under baseball rules, the starter must go five innings to get a win.
"Every time the umpire threw a ball back to me it was getting wet," Laffey said. "You could see the glare on the ball from the rain."
Lincoln (1-0) worked 2 1-3 scoreless innings for the victory, his first with the Blue Jays since being acquired from Pittsburgh in July.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5) took the loss, lasting just four outs and giving up five runs and five hits.
The Blue Jays chased Matsuzaka with the five-run fifth. Escobar belted the first pitch of the inning into the first row of seats above the Green Monster. Adeiny Hechavarria had an RBI double, Gose followed with a two-run single before Rajai Davis added a sacrifice fly. Colby Rasmus then singled and manager Bobby Valentine came out to a loud boos to lift the Japanese right-hander. Both walked off nearly together, with Valentine slightly behind, to a spattering of more boos.
At one point in ninth, there were brief chants of "Fire Bobby."
"He had a good first (inning)," Valentine said of Matsuzaka. "The first pitch of the second inning it goes over the fence, and after that he made decent pitches."
Alfredo Aceves entered after Matsuzaka and Rasmus helped end the inning by forgetting how many outs and running on a fly to centre with only one out, easily getting doubled up trying to get back.
Laffey gave up two runs and four hits in 4 2-3 innings.
"You can be frustrated," Laffey said of not getting the win. "It is what it is. It's over now. They allowed me to go back after the first delay. After the break I really didn't have it."
As bad as Matsuzaka was, it wasn't his shortest start of the season. On July 2, he lasted just one inning in Oakland, allowing five runs, and the next day he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained neck muscle.
Boston didn't have a hit until Ellsbury opened the fourth with a single, a liner over the head of shortstop Escobar.
One pitch later, the umpires called for the tarp. A few minutes after the grounds crew had it in place, the rain stopped and they took it off and got the infield ready before they had to put it on again.
This time, for longer. The delay was 58 minutes.
NOTES: Boston RHP John Lackey, recovering the entire season from ulnar collateral surgery in November, threw to live hitters for the first time, tossing early batting practice to Daniel Nava and Ivan De Jesus. ... RF Gose made a sliding grab on Mike Aviles' foul ball near the wall to end the second. ... Toronto C J.P. Arencibia fired the ball into left field on Mauro Gomez's strikeout when he attempted to start the process of throwing it around the infield. ... The crowd — that is, what was left in the second rain delay — cheered when the final out of the Orioles-Yankees was shown on the centre-field scoreboard. Then they played John Denver's 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy' — a seventh-inning stretch tradition at Camden Yards in Baltimore — over the PA.