TORONTO -- John Farrell and the Boston Red Sox weren't fazed by a hostile reception from Toronto's fans. Instead, they turned all the boos into a boost of energy.
Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 6-4 on Friday night in Farrell's return to Toronto.A packed house of 45,328 let Farrell have it all night. The former Toronto manager left the Blue Jays last fall to replace Bobby Valentine in Boston.
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For the first time since he left last fall, John Farrell returned to the city that took great umbrage with his decision to leave the Blue Jays, Gordon Edes writes. Story
"Anytime you get this kind of atmosphere at home or on the road, this is what guys thrive on," Farrell said. "To have that kind of atmosphere, we'll take it every night."Farrell was jeered during batting practice and when he came to home plate to exchange lineup cards, doffing his cap on his way back to the bench.The ill will continued throughout, with Farrell getting booed when he came out to check on injured shortstop Jose Iglesias, and again when he made a pitching change in the sixth.Even pitching coach Juan Nieves heard it when he came to the mound, a possible case of mistaken identity."I think anybody in a gray uniform was going to take it in some form or fashion," Farrell said.The outpouring of anger and emotion seemed to fire up the Red Sox."It was fun for me," Napoli said. "I like when the crowd's like that. You go into the opposing stadium and they're loud, they're cheering for their team."Dustin Pedroia felt the same way."It was fun," he said. "Packed house, they were loud. It was a good time."Will Middlebrooks added a solo shot for Boston and Junichi Tazawa (1-0) got the win despite allowing a tying homer to Jose Reyes in the seventh.Napoli's opposite field shot in the fifth was Boston's first home run of the season and just his third base hit."It always feels good to hit a homer," Napoli said. "I haven't been feeling too good at the plate. My timing's been off a little bit. I've been working every day with it and feeling better and better every at bat."Andrew Bailey pitched the eighth and Joel Hanrahan finished for his second save.Reyes went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and Josh Johnson gave up nine hits over six innings in his Toronto debut, but second baseman Emilio Bonifacio made three fielding errors and struck out four times."We haven't put it all together yet," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Too many mistakes tonight, very rarely are you going to win those kind of games."Pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes drew a one-out walk from Esmil Rogers (0-1) in the eighth and went to third on Pedroia's double off the wall. Napoli followed with a grounder to third that was gloved by Maicer Izturis, who fell down on the play and couldn't recover quickly enough to throw home."The key was Jonny Gomes getting on base," Farrell said.The Blue Jays put runners at second and third with one out in the bottom half, but Bailey got Adam Lind and Izturis to fly out.Middlebrooks gave the Red Sox some insurance with a line-drive homer to left off Jeremy Jeffress in the ninth.Toronto's Mark DeRosa hit a solo homer in the fifth, his first in three years, a drive that bounced off the top of the center-field wall and went out.Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was held out of the lineup with a sore right ankle and replaced by Rajai Davis. The two-time major league home run leader hurt his ankle stepping on first base while beating out a double play in the eighth inning of Thursday's 10-8 win over Cleveland.Boston opened the scoring in the second when Shane Victorino scored on Jacoby Ellsbury's bases-loaded single, but Toronto tied it in the bottom half on DeRosa's sacrifice fly.Back-to-back errors by second baseman Emilio Bonifacio gave the Red Sox runners at first and second with one out in the fourth, and pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco followed with an RBI single.Napoli's first homer of the year made it 4-1 in the fifth, but DeRosa cut it to 4-2 by leading off the bottom half with his first homer since April 5, 2010, when he went deep for San Francisco at Houston.Izturis followed with a single and scored when Jackie Bradley Jr. couldn't come up with Reyes' double into the left-field corner. Reyes was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.Toronto scored in the seventh when Reyes hit a one-out homer to right off Tazawa, his first with the Blue Jays.Boston left-hander Felix Doubront allowed three runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. He walked none and struck out six."I thought tonight he had his best stuff of the year," Farrell said. "He was downhill consistently, he had an outstanding changeup, he was powerful. A good step forward for him."Johnson allowed four runs, three earned. He walked two, one intentional, and struck out six.
Iglesias left in the fourth with a bruised right arm, two innings after he was hit near the elbow by a pitch. He was replaced by Ciriaco. ... Red Sox SS Stephen Drew (concussion) went 1 for 3 in seven innings with Double-A Portland. ... Boston DH David Ortiz (right Achilles) ran in the outfield in Florida and remained on track to play in extended spring training games starting Monday. ... Gibbons said Bautista will DH if he returns to the lineup Saturday.