The Red Sox scored eighth-inning runs on two bases-loaded walks by Gary Lavelle to rally for a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday in Boston.
With their fourth straight victory and 15th in 17 games, the Red Sox moved within 4 1/2 games of the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East. Second-place Detroit trails Toronto by 3 1/2 games.
After taking a 5-1 lead with three runs off starter Doyle Alexander in the seventh, Boston had to stage another rally as Toronto pulled into a tie with four runs in the eighth.
Jim Acker, who replaced Alexander at the start of the eighth, gave way after walking Wade Boggs and allowing Jim Rice's single. Lavelle replaced Acker and quickly got two outs on Bill Buckner's sacrifice bunt and a strikeout.
The Blue Jays elected to walk right-handed hitter Dwight Evans to load the bases and pitch to left-handed Rich Gedman.
But Lavelle walked Gedman on four pitches, forcing in Boggs with the tie-breaking run. Then, Marty Barrett walked on a full count, forcing home Rice.
Bob Stanley (2-2) got the victory, Boston's third straight over Toronto, although he was hit hard after replacing starter Bob Ojeda in the eighth. Acker (3-1) was the loser.
"I just made it exciting," said Stanley, who failed to protect a 5-2 lead. "That's the way baseball is. You stink and you win. I wish they had a rule that Ojeda gets the win and I just get an appearance."
The Blue Jays rallied to tie it at 5 in the eighth. After George Bell's 12th homer and Jesse Barfield's single, Stanley replaced Ojeda. Pinch hitter Len Matuszek forced Barfield at second, then went to third on Willie Upshaw's single. Ernie Whitt's pinch single moved Upshaw to second and both runners advanced on a wild pitch.
Pinch hitter Rance Mulliniks drove in Upshaw with a sacrifice fly. Tony Fernandez singled home Whitt, tying the score.