By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BOSTON -- For the second game in a row, the Red Sox had to stitch together a game using five different pitchers. This time, the end result was much better though the circumstances were no less worrisome.
Jon Lester left the game after four no-hit innings because of a strained left lat, but three relievers combined for four shutout innings and Jonathan Papelbon survived a shaky ninth as the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2.
The Sox had leaned on their bullpen for 6 23 innings Monday when John Lackey was shelled for seven runs.
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the second a run-scoring double by Jason Varitek and an RBI single from J.D. Drew. Dustin Pedroia added a solo homer in the third.
Matt Albers (two innings), Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard and Papelbon finished up for Lester, who had been bidding for his 11th win.
Papelbon made it interesting in the final frame. He gave up Jose Bautista's major league leading 28th home run, a two-run blast, then allowed the game-tying and game-winning runs to get on base. John McDonald followed with a single to left field, but Darnell McDonald fielded the ball on a hop and threw out Edwin Encarnacion at home to end the game.
The victory was the fifth in the last six games for the Red Sox, who are 7-4 versus Toronto this season.
Sean McAdam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam
UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.
BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.
A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal...
...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...
have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora.
A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said.
Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.
Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.
The Washington Nationals will ask to speak to Houston Astros bench coach Alex Cora after the ALCS, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported, which could throw a wrench into the Red Sox' plans to name Cora their manager.
The Sox appeared close to naming Cora to replace John Farrell after the Astros season is finished, NBC Sports Boston Red Sox Insider Evan Drellich reported earlier this week. Then the Nats decided to part ways with manager Dusty Baker after consecutive N.L. East titles but Division Series flameouts.
Cora, 41, as Cafardo points out, was once offered a player development job with the Nats, who were the last team he played for (2011) in his 14-plus years as a major league infielder, including 2005-08 with the Red Sox.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo obviously has a fondness for Cora, telling MLB.com in 2011:
"I think it comes natural to him to be a teacher. Alex still has a lot left in his tank as a player. But he has my number, and when he’s done playing, he can make a call. It will be well-received."
After interviewing Cora, ex-Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire, who took the Tigers job this week, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told WEEI.com that he was still "undecided" if he'll interview anyone else.