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Hechavarria homers, Jays shut out Red Sox to avoid sweep

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The Canadian Press
9/16/2012 6:50:50 PM
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TORONTO -- As Omar Vizquel winds down his career, it seems like he reaches a milestone with each hit.

It also helps when they win games as well.

The 45-year-old hit a two-out single in the seventh inning against left-hander Jon Lester to break a 0-0 tie and the Toronto Blue Jays went on to beat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Sunday.

The single was Vizquel's second hit of the game and tied him with Jesse Burkett for 42nd on the all-time list with 2,872.

The single was followed by a two-run homer by Adeiny Hechavarria, his second as a major-leaguer. The Blue Jays added two in the eighth in front of 21,698 fans at Rogers Centre.

Vizquel's next hit ties him with Babe Ruth and it could come at Yankee Stadium where the Blue Jays open a three-game series against New York on Tuesday.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell said Vizquel will get the chance.

"I'd be crazy not to," he said. "Given today's performance with two more hits. For him to tie if possible in New York will be very fitting.

"Not even in my wildest dreams was I going to think that you can bring the name of Babe Ruth next to mine and compare it with hits and other things there have been in my career," Vizquel said. "When I started the season I wasn't really thinking about numbers. I was just trying to go out there and finish my career strong."

It also helped the Blue Jays avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox. Vizquel hit two sacrifice flies on Sept. 9 including the game-winner when the Blue Jays swept the Red Sox in three games at Fenway Park.

This time Vizquel broke up a superb pitching effort by Lester who took a one-hitter into the seventh.

"He was dominating today," Vizquel said. "We couldn't really get to him. We got very few opportunities."

The opportunity came in the seventh when Yan Gomes singled with two out. Rajai Davis ran for him and stole second. Vizquel singled him home.

"I came up there with a situation in the fifth where I was supposed to bunt and I couldn't do it," said Vizquel who also doubled in the third. "We had another opportunity and I came up again and Davis got that base and I came up with that big hit and Hechavarria did the rest. It was a good win overall."

Lester said he was "trying to be quick to the plate" with Davis running the bases.

"He steals 30-plus bags a year for a reason," he said. "I just left a curveball middle-up. Vizquel has been around for a long time and didn't try to do too much with it and got a base knock.

"Next pitch, right back to executing, did what I had to do and (Hechavarria) put a better swing on it. It's baseball. You make a great pitch, they hit it. You make a pitch right down the middle, they hit it right to somebody. It's just the way it goes sometimes."

Lester (9-12) finished his seven innings, allowing four hits, one walk and three runs while striking out seven.

Toronto righty Brandon Morrow did not factor in the decision after pitching six scoreless innings in which he held Boston (66-81) to four hits and a walk.

He had made 102 pitches when he was removed for reliever Brett Cecil to start the seventh, and right-handed reliever Brandon Lyon (3-0) picked up the win.

"Well-pitched game through the first six inning really, on both sides," Farrell said. "Nothing happening offensively. Then we get a two-out base hit in the seventh by Gomes. And as we've seen many times before, when Rajai gets on the bases he can make a lot of things happen. And the way Omar's swinging the bat, he continues to creep towards a major milestone.

"And Hech kind of surprised everybody in the ballpark with a two-run homer. It gave us further distance, then we tacked on the other two."

The Red Sox had two runners on base twice in the first four innings but Morrow stranded them. Vizquel was the only base runner for Toronto (66-79) after a leadoff double in the third until Moises Sierra led off the fifth with a walk.

Sierra reached second on a throwing error by Lester after a bunt by Gomes. Lester worked out of it by striking out Vizquel and Hechavarria and getting a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop from Anthony Gose.

Daniel Bard took over for Boston in the eighth and allowed a leadoff double to Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C., and a run-scoring single to Colby Rasmus who took second on an error by left-fielder Ryan Kalish who had just entered the game.

The Blue Jays picked up another run in the inning on a single by Sierra against Scott Atchison.

NOTES: Toronto has Monday off before they visit New York for a three-game series against the Yankees. . . The Blue Jays salvaged one victory in the three-game series and finished a six-game home stand at 2-4. . . Blue Jays designated hitter-first baseman Edwin Encarnacion did not play because of a sore toe. Blue Jays catcher Jeff Mathis was a late scratch because of flu-like symptoms and Gomes replaced him in the lineup as DH. J.P. Arencibia was scheduled to be DH but moved to catcher. . . Sierra continued to have trouble in right field losing fly balls in the sun, letting a fly hit by Ryan Lavarnway drop in for a double in the second. . . Hechavarria made his seventh major-league start at shortstop with Yunel Escobar out with flu-like symptoms.

Hechavarria and Vizquel  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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