TORONTO -- Ryan Dempster had held the Toronto Blue Jays to a single run on four hits over seven innings, and thrown just 88 pitches in the process.
And yet, with the Red Sox leading 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, manager John Farrell opted to bring in Junichi Tazawa, who had a 10.13 ERA in six games against the Blue Jays this season.
When Tazawa gave up a game-tying homer to J.P. Arencibia, the first hitter he faced, it looked like the strategy backfired.
But, after the Red Sox came back in 11 innings to beat Toronto, 4-2, Farrell wasn't second-guessing his decision.
"It didn't work out, obviously," said Farrell. "But I felt like it was a better matchup against J.P., who handles off-speed stuff very well. Like I said, in this case, it didn't work out."
Tazawa had allowed seven homers this season and four had been hit by Toronto. But Farrell said that didn't impact his decision.
"No, no reluctance at all," he said. "[Tazawa's] been such a good reliever for us late in games. We know he's not going to create situations that he can't work around. He doesn't walk people. He's going to challenge guys and this is a good fastball-hitting team. If you don't locate well, they have a chance to square you up. That was the case tonight."
Farrell also said he didn't think the Jays were picking up anything in Tazawa's delivery or sense that the reliever was tipping his pitches.
"I think they look in one area to go to," said Farrell. "They look to go down and away to get a fastball. A couple of times, they've gotten into fastball counts and it hasn't worked out well for him. To me it's more about them understanding what his strengths are, enough to attack it."
Said Tazawa of the pitch to Arencibia: "I checked the video and the pitch that I made, I think I missed location. But I think the sequence that led up to that pitch was also something that I have to work on."
Tazawa has no explanation for his struggles against the Jays.
"I knew that I had been struggling against this team," he acknowledged, "and I was looking forward to payback, but for some reason, it didn't work out that way. I don't think it's their approach. I just think I have to be aggressive on the mound, do what I do best and I think that will take care of it."