BOSTON — The Red Sox have 50 wins by the end of June after getting 69 all last year. They’re in first place in the AL East one season after finishing last.
Boston’s turnaround rolled on with a 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. There were smiles in the clubhouse but hardly a sense of satisfaction.
“With 50 wins, people are going to keep talking about that. It’s not enough,” Shane Victorino said. “We’ve got to keep going.”
His hard grounder eluded first baseman Josh Thole for an error as Jonathan Diaz raced home with the winning run in the ninth inning. Thole entered in the bottom of the third when Adam Lind left with mid-back tightness and Thole was playing first base for just the second time in 316 major league games.
“You’ve just got to know who to hit it to, I guess,” Victorino said with a smile. “I played against Josh all those years in New York and he was a catcher.”
Thole, acquired from the New York Mets along with pitcher R.A. Dickey in December, had played first at Triple-A Buffalo before he was called up on June 7.
“I’ve played first base. That’s what I’m here for,” he said. “I’ve got to catch the ball and make an out.”
Jose Bautista tied the game in the ninth against Koji Uehara (1-0) with a solo homer, his 19th of the season and third in two games. On the previous at-bat, Victorino made a sliding catch near the right-field line on Jose Reyes’ fly ball.
“I think a lot of people doubted this team, the capabilities that we had,” Victorino said. “We’ve got that target on our back because we’re in first place. But you know what? We’re up for the challenge.”