Dwight Evans' sacrifice fly completed a four-run eighth inning as the Red Sox rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday in Boston. That gave the Red Sox a four-game sweep of the American League East leaders.
The Red Sox solved relievers Jim Acker, Gary Lavelle and Bill Caudill in gaining their 16th victory in 18 games and move within 3 1/2 games of Toronto. Boston had trailed Toronto by 10 games three weeks ago.
It was Boston's first four-game series sweep since 1981.
Acker, who relieved starter Jimmy Key after Toronto had rallied to take a 6-3 lead in the seventh, began the Boston eighth by walking Bill Buckner. Jim Rice singled and Steve Lyons produced an RBI single.
Lavelle (2-2) relieved after a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Reid Nichols moved the runners to second and third. After Lavelle walked Marty Barrett on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, Glenn Hoffman, who had an RBI single earlier, lined a 3-2 pitch to right for a two-run single.
Barrett took third and Hoffman went to second on the throw to the plate. Caudill relieved Lavelle and walked pinch hitter Rich Gedman intentionally to load the bases. Evans followed with his sacrifice fly.
"The Red Sox are playing super, but you can't catch walks," Toronto Manager Bobby Cox said.
"Nothing was hit hard except for Hoffman's 3-2 pitch. Everything else was ground balls and walks. We gave away three ball games and they beat us once. You just can't give them games. However, we're still in first place and I'm sure the other clubs would rather be where we are now."
Steve Crawford (4-2), Boston's third pitcher, got the last seven outs.
Trailing by 3-2, the Blue Jays scored three times in the sixth. Willie Upshaw singled off Roger Clemens and George Bell greeted reliever Bruce Hurst with a double. Jeff Burroughs' sacrifice fly tied the score, Buck Martinez singled home Bell and Tony Fernandez got an RBI single.