BOSTON - The Toronto Blue Jays, the presumptive favourites to win the American League East when the 2013 season began, instead watched the Red Sox celebrate as division champions on Friday night.
Ace left-hander Jon Lester paced the Red Sox to a 6-3 win over Toronto with seven innings of one run ball. He improved to 15-8.
Koji Uehara, the first reliable closer in Boston since Jonathan Papelbon left for Philadelphia two years ago, notched his 20th save.
BLUE JAYS WATCH RED SOX CELEBRATE
Prior to the game, Mark DeRosa told TSN.ca if the Red Sox clinched against the Blue Jays this weekend, he hoped Toronto players would watch the celebration and be energized by the scene, wanting to experience a similar feeling next year.
Here is some post-game reaction:
"These guys know what's at stake," manager John Gibbons said of his ballclub. "They know where we're trying to go. They've got a great team over there, they really do. They ran away with a good division. It's not even close right now so that speaks volumes of how good they are. Tonight's a perfect example, good pitching, good defence and a lot of hitting. I mean, that's a good recipe."
"It's really frustrating because we've got the talent to be like that," said starter Esmil Rogers, who didn't get out of the third inning and fell to 5-8 on the year. "We've got so many opportunities to do that and we didn't make it so I think God made a decision to give the opportunity to this team to make it. I hope that God gives the opportunity to us for next year so we can be celebrating like that, too."
"I mean that's what you play for," said DeRosa, who played on the great Braves teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s and won a World Series with the Giants in 2010. "I know you go through different phases in your career, wanting to establish yourself and then provide for your family but at the same time that's what it's about. Hopefully it triggers something and guys are ready to roll. I mean, they're a perfect example of a team that loves playing together and finding a way to win. They don't kill you with a bunch of names. Big Papi is one of the best hitters in the game. I mean, they just have a really good team top to bottom and they play together."
As of the publishing of this piece, centre fielder Colby Rasmus was in a Boston hospital undergoing a CT scan on his face.
Rasmus was injured while taking his position before the bottom of the first inning. Anthony Gose, playing right field, made a warm-up throw in Rasmus' direction. Rasmus wasn't looking and the ball hit him near the left eye.
Gose was shaken after the game.
"I threw the ball and I hit him in the face," said Gose. "I thought he was looking at me and I just tried to throw it to him and I hit him right in the face."
Rasmus' injury forced a complete restructuring of the outfield. Anthony Gose, who was to play in right field, moved to centre field. Rajai Davis shifted from left field to right. Kevin Pillar entered the game in Rasmus' lineup spot and played left field.