TORONTO Jed Lowrie hit a solo home run in the 11th inning to give Boston a 6-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on Sunday, keeping the Red Sox on top in the American League wild card race.
Boston closed the gap on AL East leaders Tampa Bay with the win but still hold just a one-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the wild card hunt.
"It was a great win," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
"We need all the wins we can get because we're in a real battle right now. We've got a day to regroup and we probably need to."
Boston are 4-7 against Toronto this season, and Sunday's win was only their second in six trips to Rogers Centre.
"It was a big win because the Blue Jays have been playing great and they are one of the teams trying to catch us," said Boston's Jason Bay, who made a leaping catch against the wall to end the 10th inning.
"They have played us very well too, so to be able to finally win a few games here is huge for us."
The Blue Jays fell eight games behind the Red Sox in the wild card race with 32 games remaining but have seven games left against them in September.
Both starters were looking to stretch winning streaks, but Daisuke Matsuzaka left after six innings and A.J. Burnett after seven, with the score tied 5-5.
Matsuzaka had won four in a row and Burnett five.
"The bottom line is that this loss is my fault," Burnett said. "We needed this one and I didn't come through."
Dustin Pedroia had a three-run homer and Coco Crisp also homered for the Red Sox. Jonathan Papelbon (5-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Vernon Wells hit his third homer in two days for the Jays, while Lyle Overbay also homered. Reliever Brandon League (0-2) allowed Lowrie's game-winning homer in the top of the 11th.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)