BOSTON -- The acclaimed Toronto International Film Festival begins next week, while the Boston Red Sox are scheduled to be in town, but judging by the number of screenings Tuesday night’s game at Fenway Park inspired, they might as well have rolled out the red carpet here.
Scoring four times in the 10th inning, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 5-1, but not before Jays MVP candidate Josh Donaldson’s final scene withstood intense scrutiny from Entertainment Weekly, Variety and the New York Times, or so it seemed.
Actually, it was another set of the usual suspects -- the umpiring crew assigned to MLB’s video-replay center in New York -- who looked long and hard at Donaldson in the 10th inning, when he launched a drive leading off the inning that hit very close to the top of the Monster in left.
The ball bounced high and back onto the field, third-base umpire Manny Gonzalez ruling the ball was in play. That call would be reviewed, to determine whether the ball had instead struck the top of the wall, which would have made it a home run.
But there would also be drama on the bases. Donaldson had high-tailed it to third, launching himself into the bag with a head-first slide that just beat the throw to third baseman Pablo Sandoval from shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who had hustled all the way out to retrieve the bouncing ball, nearly colliding with left fielder Brock Holt.
The first review confirmed Gonzalez’s original call, the boys taking roughly 1 minute, 45 seconds to arrive at a consensus. A replay official explained the call in an email:
“After viewing all relevant angles, the Replay Official definitively determined that ball struck an area that is in play and rebounded onto the playing field. The call is CONFIRMED. It is not a home run."
Donaldson, who hit a ball in the third inning that had plenty of home run distance but was confirmed as foul after the first review of the night, said he didn’t know what to think.
“I saw it and I saw it bounce up,’’ he told reporters. “I don’t know the rules.’’
Jays manager John Gibbons said he thought it was a home run but deferred to the film buffs.
“They have better camera angles than we have,’’ he said.
The umps here then sent it back to New York again to verify that Donaldson had indeed beaten the throw, which was the judgment of plate umpire Jim Reynolds, who had rotated over to make the call. That film session lasted longer -- about 2 minutes, 27 seconds -- before it was confirmed that yes, Donaldson’s slide had beaten the tag.
“I thought I was safe,’’ he said. “I knew it was a bang-bang play.’’
A shallow fly ball and intentional walk later, Donaldson scored the go-ahead run when Troy Tulowitzki shot a ground ball through the left side for a single. The Jays parlayed another RBI single by Chris Colabello, a wild pitch, a balk and a sacrifice fly to score twice more, giving the sizable contingent of Canadians here ample reason to serenade their leading man and supporting cast with loud cheers.
It was an unconventional win for the bashing Blue Jays, who scored their first run in the first inning without the benefit of a hit -- leadoff man Ben Revere was hit by a pitch, took second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on an infield out -- and then managed just three hits until the 10th.
Six Sox relievers, beginning with Jean Machi, who rescued starter Henry Owens from a first-and-second, one-out jam in the sixth by inducing a double-play ball from Kevin Pillar, held the Jays hitless until Donaldson’s triple off Alexi Ogando, reliever No. 7.
“I don’t think we played our best game,’’ interim manager Torey Lovullo said, “but I thought it was a collective effort, especially by our pitchers, to hang on, and keep it a 1-all game. They deserve a lot of credit for that. They took this team right to the brink. Unfortunately, we didn’t execute in the 10th inning.’’
They didn’t execute in the ninth, either, when Rusney Castillo, who had entered as a pinch runner after David Ortiz walked, was thrown out trying to steal second on a 3-and-1 pitch to Travis Shaw. Lovullo said Castillo had thought he’d picked up a “key” and was running on his own. Shaw ended the inning by grounding out, but not before that play was challenged by the Sox, who were rebuffed.
Shaw’s ninth home run in the second off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who went the first six innings, accounted for Boston’s only run. Ortiz was the only Sox baserunner in four innings of hitless relief by the Toronto bullpen.
The Jays increased their lead in the AL East to 1 ½ games over the Yankees, 2-1 losers to the Orioles. The Sox, meanwhile, had a four-game winning streak snapped, spoiling Dustin Pedroia’s return to the lineup.
Lovullo took Pedroia out at the end of nine as a precaution. Pedroia had a wall-ball double off Dickey in the sixth in four trips.
“Felt great,’’ Pedroia said. “Just wished we had won. Played hard, just couldn’t find a way to score more runs.’’