Alex Cora's first homer in 245 at-bats found its way into the right-field grandstands with the assistance of Blue Jays right fielder Alex Rios, and Dustin Pedroia and Gabe Kapler made dazzling defensive plays in the eighth inning to help Boston to a 6-4 win over Toronto at Fenway Park.
Cora came to the plate in the seventh against Roy Halladay (16-5), with Pedroia on first and two outs in a 4-4 game. Cora lifted a fly to Rios at the edge of the warning track. The ball went in and out of Rios' glove. While attempting to recover with a barehand catch, Rios knocked the ball into the stands, and the Red Sox shortstop had his first homer since Aug. 15, 2005.
"If wishing and blowing on it helped, I was helping. Sometimes you need a break," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We played ourselves into a position where a break helps us win a game, not gets us back to within four."
"I actually thought Rios was closer to the wall," added Mike Lowell, whose first-inning, three-run homer off Halladay gave Boston a 3-0 lead. "When I saw the replay, I didn't know how far it was. We finally got a nice break, and sometimes you need that to turn things around."
Boston's good fortune was Toronto's bad luck.
"Sometimes a play like that -- as much as they've been struggling over there -- that got them going," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons observed. "It turned out to be a big win for them. Sometimes that's what it takes. It's rare, but sometimes that happens."
"The ball jumped off my glove, and when I tried to catch it with my bare hand I just pushed it away," Rios said. "I mean, I don't know. I don't know what to say. It felt like -- I don't know. It was kind of a reaction play. When I dropped it, I just tried to catch it so quickly with my bare hand that I pushed it away."
The good fortune continued into the eighth for the Red Sox.
The eighth inning featured a 4-6-3 double play started when Pedroia dove to his right on a hard smash off the bat of Gregg Zaun. The inning ended when Russ Adams hit a sinking liner to right and Kapler dove to make the catch.
"Pedroia made the play of the night," Francona said. "If he doesn't make that play, it's first and third with no one out. We're swimming upstream again. Because he makes the play, we can go to [Jonathan Papelbon] where we did and close it out."
Manny Delcarmen (2-0) recorded the win after pitching a scoreless sixth but allowing the tying run in the seventh. Papelbon came on to record the last four outs for his 35th save.
Julian Tavarez made his first start since Sept. 17, 2002, with Florida against Montreal. He gave the Red Sox a chance, throwing 64 pitches and allowing five hits and three runs over three innings before giving way to Bryan Corey. The right-hander threw two scoreless innings, striking out three.
The wild ending capped a day in which the Red Sox traded David Wells to San Diego, acquired right-hander Kevin Jarvis from Arizona and received the news that David Ortiz was released from the hospital and could return to action as soon as Saturday.
"It was very gratifying. We got deep enough in a game where we could do what we did. [Mike] Timlin coming in and getting a couple of outs, watching Pedroia make that play, letting Pap finish it out. I felt a lot of emotions today. Saying goodbye to Boomer [Wells], seeing guys [Jon Lester] in the hospital and then coming out and watching our guys play their fannies off. It was very gratifying to see how much they cared about winning one single game."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.