TORONTO -- Before Monday's game, embattled closer Alfredo Aceves wrote manager Bobby Valentine a note, reflecting on trust and confidence in the face of the Red Sox' hard times.
Valentine responded by telling Aceves he would get the ball if a save situation arose, and when it did, after the Red Sox rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, Aceves made sure to make the most of it.
After failing to retire a single one of the five hitters he faced over two brutal outings in Detroit, Aceves turned back the Toronto Blue Jays with ease, retiring all three hitters he faced to record his first save and give the Red Sox their first win of the season, 4-2.
"We stick together," said Aceves. "One of the (important) things is trust. Whatever you want to trust, just trust. I need to keep that in mind I have to trust my stuff. It's the same for everyone."
The Sox rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning off Toronto closer Sergio Santos, and Aceves came in for the save opportunity.
He retired Brett Lawrie on a groundout, struck out Eric Thames and got J.P. Arencibia to groundout for the final out.
Aceves thanked Valentine for maintaining confidence in the team even after three tough losses against the Tigers over the weekend.
His teammates maintained their confidence in him even after his stumbles in the first three games.
"Of course," said David Ortiz. "He a great pitcher. He's got great stuff. The first you go in a game, you've got butterflies going through and you want to execute.
"But today, it seemed like he was more patient, taking his time and executed better."
And Aceves was especially grateful to get another chance to close out a win after blowing a ninth-inning lead Sunday at Comerica Park.
"Of course," said Aceves. "Yeah. Every time I get a chance to play, I want to play, man. I stay positive."
"He threw pretty much the same pitches (as he did the last two outings)" said Valentine. "They were all quality -- up in the zone, away in the zone . . . His breaking ball was really good. His fastball was crisp."
Valentine also dryly noted that, as hitting coach Dave Magadan observed, Aceves got something else to go along with his first save: an actual ERA.
When Aceves failed to retire a hitter over his first two appearances, he was left, technically, with an ERA of infinity. Following Monday's win, his ERA is still a bloated 27.00 -- but that beats what it had been.