Toronto, ON – Ryan Lavarnway hit a three-run home run and drove in four as the Boston Red Sox used a three-run ninth inning to surpass the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-5, in the opener of a three-game series.
Mauro Gomez added two hits, two RBI and scored three times for the Red Sox, who won for just the third time in their last nine. Daniel Nava also contributed a pair of hits and drove in two runs.
"That's what we needed tonight, so I'm glad I could provide it," Lavarnway said.
Chris Carpenter (1-0) recorded the final two outs of the eighth for his first major league win, and Andrew Bailey shut the door in the ninth for his third save.
Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie both totaled two hits and an RBI for the Jays, losers in three of their last four since a four-game win streak.
Darren Oliver (3-3) was charged with the go-ahead run in one-plus relief innings.
Deadlocked at 5-5, Jacoby Ellsbury began the final frame with a single, and Oliver gave way to Casey Janssen, who retired Mike Aviles on a fly to right before Cody Ross singled. That set up a Gomez triple which eluded Anthony Gose in right and scored two runs and Lavarnway's sacrifice fly to make it 8-5.
Bailey allowed a Rajai Davis single with two out in the home half but fanned Colby Rasmus swinging to end the game.
The Jays broke through in the third, thanks to a pair of wild pitches by Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. He loaded the bases with one out by plunking Moises Sierra and issuing walks to Gose and Rasmus, then threw wild twice with Lawrie at the plate allowing two men to score. After Lawrie walked, a Lind groundout scored the final run of the frame.
Boston answered in the fourth as Ross walked, Gomez singled and Lavarnway ripped a three-run shot to left.
"I lost it there for a little bit," Blue Jays starter Aaron Laffey said. "I was just not getting the job done."
Two more came home in the Red Sox fifth as Nava singled with the bases loaded and two out, but the hosts chipped away with a run in the sixth on Yunel Escobar's RBI single and one more in the eighth as Lawrie doubled home Rasmus with none out.
Carpenter had gone 13 previous appearances (10 with the Cubs in 2011 and three with the Red Sox this year) without recording a decision ... Boston improved to 12-29 since August 1 ... With a victory on Friday, the Jays could have set a new single-season franchise record for consecutive wins over the Sox at seven ... Their 6-game win streak heading into the game was their longest since a similar run from June 2-11, 1988 ... Matsuzaka allowed three hits, four runs and walked three in 5 1/3 innings, while Laffey lasted just 3 2/3 frames, serving up three runs and four hits with three walks.