TORONTO (AP) – Keith Foulke seemed to sum up Boston’s night when he plunked Eric Hinske.

Gabe Gross hit his first home run in nearly a year during a five-run second inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Boston 9-3 Tuesday for their ninth win in 13 games against the Red Sox this season.

Hinske yelled at Foulke after the reliever hit him in the seventh, one pitch after Shea Hillenbrand’s RBI single gave the Blue Jays an 8-3 lead. Foulke, who has struggled since he was activated from the disabled list on Sept. 1, allowed two runs and two hits in one inning.

“I’m sure he was very frustrated tonight. The ball didn’t come out of his hand like it did last night,” said Boston manager Terry Francona, who has been trying to get Foulke some work so he can return to closing and bring stability to a struggling bullpen.

Hinske said Foulke apologized.

“He said on the mound he didn’t try to hit me,” said Hinske, whose right nipple was taped and iced. “I just looked at him and said, “Come on man.’ It really hurt. He nearly took my nipple off.”

Boston’s AL East lead over the second-place New York Yankees was cut to 21/2 games with another disappointing loss to Toronto, which is 72-72.

“They have outplayed us,” Francona said. “The only thing we can do is show up and try to outplay them. They’ve played very well against us.”

Matt Clement (13-5) gave up six runs and six hits in six innings, dropping to 0-2 with a 8.60 ERA in three starts this year against the Blue Jays.

“I had one inexcusable inning,” Clement said. “It’s not fun being down 5-0.”

David Ortiz of the Red Sox tied his career-high with his 41st homer. It was his 37th as a designated hitter, matching the major league record set by Seattle’s Edgar Martinez in 2000

Blue Jays starter Scott Downs (3-3) yielded up three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Toronto took a 5-0 lead in the second on Gregg Zaun’s two-run double, Aaron Hill’s RBI single and Gross’ two-run homer, his first home run since Sept. 18 last year against Tampa Bay’s Todd Ritchie.

“When we got up 5-0, I don’t think anybody said, “OK we got him,”‘ Gross said. “Everybody kept pressing to get more runs.”

Boston’s Gabe Kapler hit a run-scoring infield single in the fifth, but Corey Koskie had an RBI single in the bottom half. Ortiz’s homer and Kevin Millar’s sacrifice fly cut it to 6-3 in the sixth.

Vernon Wells and Hillenbrand boosted Toronto’s lead with RBI singles in the seventh, and Reed Johnson added an RBI single in the eighth against Chad Harville.

“You always have teams you play well against, for us it’s the Red Sox,” Zaun said. “It definitely says something about us.”

Notes: Boston CF Johnny Damon had an MRI exam of his left shoulder and it showed no structural damage. Manager Terry Francona said Damon will remain in Boston for treatment while the Red Sox finish their Toronto trip. Boston returns home to play Oakland on Thursday. “Even if he can’t (play), the news is good. He’s going to be OK,” Francona said. “We just have to let it settle down.” … Boston RF Kevin Millar extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

AP-ES-09-13-05 2323EDT

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