BOSTON — Darnell McDonald hasn’t had much luck with his health or his hitting.

But the Red Sox left fielder was feeling fine Tuesday night when he ended the game by throwing out Edwin Encarnacion at the plate on a disputed call as Boston held on for a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jason Varitek caught the ball, then hurried off the field after umpire Brian Knight’s out call.

“The play was Jason blocking the plate there and getting the tag down,” McDonald said. “He did a great job.”

Toronto Manager John Farrell didn’t think so.

“We should still be playing,” Farrell said after seeing the replay. “That play is right in front of Brian Knight. It was clear that Edwin did a good job sliding around the plant leg. His swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot.”


For McDonald, it was a rare highlight in a rough season.

He was on the disabled list from May 26 to June 14 with a strained left quadriceps and is 8 for 64 in 35 games. He’s filled in recently in left field while Carl Crawford spends time on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.

“It’s been very tough,” McDonald said. “I want to do things to help. Obviously I haven’t been effective at the plate.”

Brett Cecil (1-4) went all the way for Toronto, giving up two runs in the second on an RBI double by Varitek and a run-scoring single by J.D. Drew, and one in the third on Dustin Pedroia’s homer.

Toronto had two hits through eight innings before Corey Patterson led off the ninth with a single off Jonathan Papelbon and Jose Bautista followed with his major league-leading 28th homer.

A single by Encarnacion and a walk to J.P. Arencibia put runners at first and second with two outs. John McDonald then looped a single that Darnell McDonald charged and, on the run, fired on the fly to Varitek, who blocked the plate with his left leg. Knight looked closely, then raised his right hand for the out sign.


“(Varitek) deserves a save,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “He’s as good at that (as) anybody in the game. That’s a good baseball play. He stuck that stump in there and didn’t let him get to the plate. (McDonald) made a great throw. It wasn’t the way we drew it up, but it’s a heck of a way to end ir.”

Papelbon got his 18th save in 19 chances. Matt Albers (3-3) picked up the win.

Boston starter Jon Lester allowed no hits in four innings before leaving with a strained muscle on the left side of his back. Francona said it had been bothering Lester the entire inning and further examination would be done today.

Albers worked two scoreless innings and gave up Toronto’s first hit, a two-out single by Bautista in the sixth.

Franklin Morales and Daniel Bard each pitched a scoreless inning before Papelbon got into — and out of — a jam.

“To not give up today, get a few runs, get a few more guys on base against an excellent closer says a lot about our club,” John McDonald said.


The Red Sox ended a three-game home losing streak and won for the fifth time in their last six games overall.

They went up 2-0 in the second when David Ortiz led off with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on Varitek’s double. Drew then hit a hard shot into the hole between first and second that went off the foot of second baseman Mike McCoy for a single.

Cecil set down the first two batters in the third. Then Pedroia, batting fourth while Kevin Youkilis sat out with a bruised back muscle, drove a pitch over the left-field wall for his eighth homer.

“I see the Red Sox have been signing a whole bunch of little guys because they think they might find another Pedroia,” Ortiz joked. “I doubt it. You don’t see that every day, man. He’s special.”


Comments are no longer available on this story