Carl Yastrzemski hit his first home run of the season--the 443rd of his career--and Dwight Evans and Jim Rice also homered to lead Boston to a 7-2 win over Toronto last night, giving the visiting Red Sox a one-game lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East.
"I haven't felt better all year," said Yastrzemski, 43.
That's not surprising considering he entered the game hitting .258 and with three RBI. Because of muscle spasms in his lower back, Yastrzemski has appeared in only 19 games, and has spent 10 days in traction.
Yastrzemski said he has felt uncomfortable at the plate since his return to the lineup, but a recent talk with Manager Ralph Houk helped the situation.
"Ralph told me I was too tight, trying too hard," Yastrzemski said. "He told me to just go up there and relax. I took extra batting practice (Wednesday) and I felt super tonight. I just hope to keep it up."
Boston reliever Bob Stanley (4-2) entered the game with two out in the fourth inning after Bob Ojeda walked three straight batters following a two-run homer by Cliff Johnson. Stanley finished the game, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Toronto star Dave Stieb (8-3), who allowed only three runs while winning his last five starts, lasted only three innings. He gave up five runs on five hits, including two homers, his first in 80 2/3 innings.