BOSTON -- Fifty wins by the end of June is a point of pride, a confidence booster, a selling point, a justification for walking out of Fenway Park with a little more swagger than usual.
Beyond that? Well, check back with us in October.
The Sox reached that number by June 30 for only the fourth time in franchise history in dramatic fashion Sunday afternoon with a walk-off 5-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, sending the Jays home for Monday's Canada Day observances 8.5 games behind in the AL East, after they'd crept to within five games exactly a week ago.
The Sox have lost just once in six games since then, taking two straight from the Rockies before thwarting Toronto's designs of tightening the division race any further.
Brandon Snyder, signed to a minor league deal the day before the season started and called up to the majors on Tuesday, started the winning rally with a one-out single off Jays left-handed reliever Juan Perez, who then walked Jacoby Ellsbury.
Jays manager John Gibbons went to his closer, Casey Janssen, an unusual move in a tie game on the road. Janssen induced what might have been an inning-ending double-play ball from Shane Victorino, but the ball squirted past Jays backup Josh Thole, who was playing just his second big-league game at first after starting first baseman Adam Lind left with tightness in his back.
Playing without David Ortiz, who was given the day off, the Sox took a 3-0 lead in the second on a pop-fly RBI double by Ryan Lavarnway and a two-run gap double by Brandon Snyder, his first Sox hit in his first Sox start. Jonny Gomes, hitting in Ortiz's cleanup spot, drove in Boston's fourth run with a Fenway double in the fifth.
That was just enough for the Sox, some splendid work by lefty relievers Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller supplementing a serviceable start by Ryan Dempster. Koji Uehara blew the save, which would have been his fourth in the last five days, but he was credited with the win.
Breslow replaced Dempster with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth and induced a popup and strikeout. Breslow gave up a home run to Jose Reyes that made it 4-3 in the seventh, then gave way to Andrew Miller, who left Bautista (single) stranded at first by striking out Thole and Rajai Davis.