By Jeff Louderback
Aaron Laffey had not started a major league game since 2010, and for most of his career, he has served as a middle reliever, yet the left-hander held the Red Sox scoreless in his six innings of work on Tuesday. Then the Toronto bullpen entered, and Boston’s bats awakened.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh off Jason Fraser, and Dustin Pedroia’s two-run single later in the frame against former Red Sox reliever David Pauley, transformed a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves each tossed a scoreless inning to secure the 5-1 victory, which lifted Boston to a 39-35 record.
The Red Sox pulled a game ahead of the Blue Jays in the American League East standings, and they are now one game behind Tampa Bay and 2.5 games behind the Orioles.
Andrew Miller, who struck out Colby Rasmus with two outs and a runner on second in the top of the seventh in relief of Scott Atchison, earned the win and improved to 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA. Daisuke Matsuzaka started on Tuesday and looked impressive, allowing one run and six hits over 5.2 innings with five strikeouts and one walk.
Saltalamacchia’s home run was his 14th on the season, and several have been struck in key situations. His home run on Tuesday sparked a two-out rally in the seventh. Ryan Kalish followed with a pinch-hit double off Luis Perez, prompting Blue Jays manager John Farrell to call upon Pauley, who hit Daniel Nava with a pitch. Mike Aviles walked to load the bases, and Pedroia followed with his two-run single.
The Red Sox added two insurance runs in the eighth when Adrian Gonzalez belted an RBI double off the Green Monster and Will Middlebrooks lifted a sacrifice fly.