BOSTON - Omar Vizquel bid a fitting farewell to Fenway Park
The 45-year-old Vizquel drove in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning for the Toronto Blue Jays in a 4-3 win over the free-falling Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
It was the second sacrifice RBI of the game for the veteran infielder, who drove in half of the Blue Jays' runs as they completed a three-game sweep that got Toronto out of last place and put the Red Sox firmly at the bottom of the AL East standings.
"I'm glad that things went all right. My last at-bat was a good at-bat — a game-winning RBI," said Vizquel, who is retiring at the end of the season. "I feel pretty special because I have a lot of memorable moments here."
Boston got a strong start from Clay Buchholz (11-6) but failed to give him much run support.
Buchholz allowed four runs on seven hits over 8 2-3 innings, retiring 13 straight batters before Rajai Davis blooped a single with one out in the ninth. Davis promptly stole his 41st base and took third on a single by rookie Anthony Gose, who hit his first career homer Saturday night and drove in five runs.
Embattled Boston manager Bobby Valentine came to the mound and was booed loudly, then cheered when he let Buchholz try to get himself out of the jam.
"I just wanted to make sure he believed like I did, that he had enough. He said, 'Guaranteed,'" Valentine said of his chat with Buchholz. "All year long, Clay's been totally honest with me every chance. After eight, he felt great. He wasn't really stressed there in the ninth."
Gose stole second and the Red Sox intentionally walked Kelly Johnson to load the bases for Vizquel, who came through with a fly ball to left that was deep enough to score Davis and end the afternoon for Buchholz.
"That was supposed to be a cutter in and I didn't get it in," Buchholz said. "It's not like they were hitting the ball in the gap and driving in runs that way, so it was a little bitter taste in your mouth. But that's the game, that's sort of the way it's been going for us lately and you got to take it."
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia homered for the Red Sox, who have lost four in a row and 11 of 12.
Boston had its chances in the bottom of the ninth but couldn't score on closer Casey Janssen, who preserved the win for reliever Brandon Lyon (2-2) while picking up his 20th save.
James Loney singled to open the Boston ninth and Cody Ross nearly won it on a drive to left that was just foul. Ross ended up striking out on a pitch he felt was outside enough that he was trotting toward first when umpire Clint Fagan called it a strike.
Ellsbury flied out to deep centre for the second out, then Mike Aviles hit a foul pop that catcher Jeff Mathis got under easily to complete the sweep for the Blue Jays.
Boston has Monday off then opens a three-game series at home Tuesday against the rival Yankees, who lead the division by one game over Baltimore.
Vizquel drove in the go-ahead run earlier in the game on another sacrifice fly during the Blue Jays' three-run fourth inning that put Toronto up 3-2.
Vizquel has 2,870 career hits, just three behind Babe Ruth's total for 41st on the all-time list.
"I think it's only fitting that as we go through this last stretch of the season, the places that he's played the most in, whether it's here in Boston, New York, Baltimore, he'll be on the field," Toronto manager John Farrell said.
NOTES: Boston activated OF Daniel Nava, who had been out since Aug. 25 with a sprained left wrist that has been nagging him this season. Nava pinch hit to lead off the eighth and grounded out. ... The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East, marking the latest in a season they have held at least a share of last place since September 1997 ... Boston 3B Will Middlebrooks, on the DL with a right wrist fracture since Aug. 11, turned 24 Sunday. ... Toronto tied a franchise single-season record with its sixth straight win against Boston, matching the club record set from June 2-11, 1988. ... The Blue Jays improved to 10-5 against the Red Sox this season, clinching their first season series victory against Boston since 2006.