Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1

Sunday, July 15th 2007, 4:49 pm
By: News On 6

BOSTON (AP) _ Rookie Jesse Litsch held Boston to one run in 6 2-3 innings, and Lyle Overbay had three hits off All-Star game winner Josh Beckett on Sunday to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

A 22-year-old right-hander making his sixth career start, Litsch (2-3) allowed nine hits and a walk while striking out two. Jeremy Accardo pitched the ninth for his 12th save.

Beckett (12-3) allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out eight over eight innings in his first start since earning a win with two scoreless innings in the All-Star game. He has lost two of his past three starts and remains tied for the major league lead in wins with C.C. Sabathia and John Lackey.

The loss trimmed Boston's lead in the AL East to nine games over the Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 7-6 on Sunday. It's the first time New York has been within single digits of the division lead since June 19.

A day after Boston and Toronto combined for five homers, they took the field with a 21 mph wind blowing out to center. Neither team was able to hit one out on Sunday, but the gusts played havoc with enough popups to keep things interesting.

Toronto took the lead in the second when Overbay and Aaron Hill hit back-to-back doubles and Royce Clayton singled to make it 2-0.

Litsch did not allow an earned run in his previous start on July 3, and he held Boston scoreless for the first five innings on Sunday before Alex Cora doubled to lead off the sixth and David Ortiz doubled on a fly ball that drifted away from right fielder Alex Rios.

Manny Ramirez hit a wind-blown popup that Hill, the second baseman, caught behind first. After Kevin Youkilis walked, Mike Lowell hit a high popup behind the plate that blew back toward the field before catcher Jason Phillips made a diving catch.

Eric Hinske followed with a line drive to right, and Rios came up with the ball cleanly and quickly made a perfect throw home that beat Ortiz to the plate. The big slugger slid to the catcher's left and reached around with his right hand; but before Ortiz could tap the plate, Phillips tagged him on the chest.

Notes: Boston RHP Curt Schilling is scheduled to throw two innings off the mound on Monday as he tries to rehab from tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. ... J.D. Drew was out of the lineup for the second straight game after feeling tightness in his hamstring. Manager Terry Francona said he could play again on Monday. ... The Blue Jays don't have another chance to gain ground on AL East-leading Boston head-to-head until September. ... A Japanese company read about Boston RHP's Daisuke Matsuzaka's indigestion during a start in Texas and sent the team a few cases of pills to treat the malady. They were distributed in the press box, with explanations in English and Japanese. ... Overbay, who went on the disabled list after a pitch broke his right hand on June 3, is 6-for-14 since he was activated on Thursday. ... Beckett had been among the league leaders in run support, getting 97 runs while on the mound for his 17 starts. He has 100 strikeouts for the season.