Uehara blows save but gets win

Uehara blows save but gets win
June 30, 2013, 6:30 pm
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BOSTON -- After picking up three saves in his first three opportunities as Red Sox closer, Koji Uehara blew his first save in his new role on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Uehara entered the game in the top of the ninth, trying to preserve a 4-3 Red Sox lead. After seeing Shane Victorino make a tremendous sliding catch down the right-field line for the first out of the inning, Jose Bautista made Uehara pay for an 0-1 splitter that stayed up in the zone, crushing a game-tying solo home run off the Sports Authority sign.

"When you're facing a premier power hitter like that, a little ball up in the zone can go a long way," said Ryan Dempster after picking up the no-decision. "And I know that from personal experience, facing him."

While Uehara blew the save, he ended up getting his first win of the season in the process, as he got out of the inning with the game tied at 4-4.

The Red Sox won with a walk-off error in the bottom of the ninth, somewhat healing the pain of the blown save.

"I was relieved that we got the win, but I was angry that I [blew the save]," said Uehara through his translator.

"The big thing was that we won," added Uehara. "So I can completely focus on my next outing. Maybe if we lost, it might have lingered a little bit. But we won, so it feels very good."

Bautista's home run was bad, but it could have been devastating had Uehara not settled down and kept the game tied.

"The key is, too, not necessarily what happens there, but what happens after that and keeping it tied," said Dempster. "Some of the best closers out there, even when they blow a save, they keep it in a tie game and give us a chance to do what we were able to do there in the ninth inning, and that's win the game. That's all that matters."

Prior to that, the rest of the Red Sox bullpen did their job in helping the Red Sox pick up their 50th win of the season on Sunday.

Craig Breslow, Alex Wilson, and Andrew Miller came in after Dempster, before Uehara took the mound in the ninth.

While Breslow alowed a lead-off solo home run in the top of the seventh that cut Boston's lead to 4-3, it was what he did in the sixth inning that prevented the Blue Jays from blowing the game wide open.

Dempster loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, and after he got a pop-up to shortstop for the first out, Breslow came in and got another quick pop out to short and then struck out Emilio Bonifacio to get out of the jam and end the inning.

Wilson got one out in the seventh, and Miller replaced him and ended another Toronto threat with two inning-ending strikeouts, followed by a scoreless eighth.

"[Miller's] inning-and-two-thirds, along with Breslow's two key outs in the sixth inning, those two guys did one heck of a job," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

"Breslow walks in in that sixth inning with the bases loaded to get two key outs -- a pop up and a strikeout -- a good job those guys' part tonight."