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Vizquel gets milestone hit in Jays' 5-0 win

Associated Press Modified: September 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm •  Published: September 16, 2012
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TORONTO (AP) — Omar Vizquel never thought he'd be mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth. With his next base hit, the veteran infielder will match one of baseball's most prolific sluggers.

Adeiny Hechavarria hit a two-run home run, Vizquel had two hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

Vizquel doubled in the third and drove in the first run of the game with a single in the seventh. That was the 2,872nd hit of his 24-year career, moving him just one behind Ruth, the legendary Hall of Fame slugger and former home run king, for 41st place on the career list.

"Not even in my wildest dreams was I going to think that you can bring the name of Babe Ruth next to mine," said Vizquel, who plans to retire this winter. "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."

Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he'll likely give Vizquel a chance to match Ruth's record when Toronto begins a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

"I'd be crazy not to," Farrell said. "For him to tie if possible in New York will be very fitting."

Blue Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow said he's excited by Vizquel's pursuit of history.

"When it's the name Babe Ruth, everything is magnified," Morrow said. It's great that it looks like he's going to pass him. Omar has been great all season, in the clubhouse, in the dugout, and obviously on the field. He's been a lot of fun to be around."

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the seventh, when Yan Gomes grounded a two-out single up the middle just the second hit allowed by Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.

Rajai Davis came on as a pinch runner and stole second, then scored on Vizquel's base hit to center.

"I don't know if (Lester) threw a bad pitch except for maybe the curveball to Vizquel," Red Sox Bobby Valentine said. "The whole game he was in and out, doing a heck of a job."

Lester (9-12) gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings as the Red Sox failed to get their first three-game winning streak since posting four consecutive victories from July 28 to 31.

Lester acknowledged that he was "trying to be quick to the plate" with the speedy Davis running the bases.

"As we've seen many times before, when Rajai gets on the bases he can make a lot of things happen," Farrell said.

Hechavarria hit Lester's very next offering, a cut fastball, hooking it around the foul screen into the second deck in left for his second career home run.

"I thought that cutter was a pretty good pitch," Valentine said. "Not many guys keep that fair in the air."

Brandon Lyon (3-0) pitched 2-3 of an inning for the win. Darren Oliver worked the eighth and Casey Janssen finished as the Blue Jays recorded their ninth shutout.

Toronto pulled away with two more in the eighth off Daniel Bard. Brett Lawrie led off with a double and scored on Colby Rasmus' single to left, with Rasmus taking second on Ryan Kalish's error. Rasmus scored two batters later on Moises Sierra's RBI single off Scott Atchison.

Lester set down the first six batters in order before Vizquel's double, and the Blue Jays didn't get another base runner until Sierra's leadoff walk in the fifth. Sierra was safe at second when Lester threw high to second on Gomes' sacrifice bunt, then had to scamper back to the bag after nearly getting caught in a rundown.

Toronto failed to capitalize when Lester struck out Vizquel and Hechavarria, then got Anthony Gose to ground into a fielder's choice.

Boston put a runner in scoring position three times in the first four innings against Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow but failed to score. The Red Sox stranded men at first and second in the first, left a runner at second in the second and stranded runners at first and second again in the fourth.

"We fired a lot of blanks with men on base today," Valentine said.

Ciriaco had a two-out single off Lyon in the seventh and stole second while Jose Iglesias was batting. When the count got to 2-2 on Iglesias, Valentine brought Daniel Nava on as a pinch hitter. Nava grounded back to the mound on the first pitch.

The Red Sox put runners at first and second with one out in the eighth but Ross grounded into a double play.

Morrow gave up four hits in six scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out three.

NOTES: Toronto DH Edwin Encarnacion (sore right big toe) was scratched from the lineup, along with SS Yunel Escobar (illness) and C Jeff Mathis (flulike symptoms). ... Valentine insisted he wasn't trying to be critical when he said Friday that his struggling Red Sox had "the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball." On Sunday, Valentine called his earlier comments "a statement of fact because of the injuries and our Triple-A team in the playoffs." ... The Red Sox have not been caught stealing since Aug. 29, swiping 16 straight bases in that time.