TORONTO -- On a day manager Bobby Valentine questioned the talent on his roster, the Red Sox exacted revenge against a Blue Jays team they have struggled against, with some unlikely heroes coming up big.
The Red Sox snapped a six-game losing streak against Toronto and won for just the third time in 16 games thanks to some big late-inning plays.
Daniel Nava made a game-saving diving catch in the bottom of the eighth before Mauro Gomez hit a two-run triple to break a ninth-inning tie and propel the Red Sox to an 8-5 win in front of 21,888 fans at Rogers Centre on Friday.
"You start with Daniel Nava -- I don't know we have a chance without [him] making a spectacular catch, saving the game," Valentine said.
"Mauro is a pretty good hitter. ... He took a slider into right-center field that I thought was caught for a second. It's a game of inches -- Daniel makes the catch, [Anthony] Gose doesn't."
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the frame with an opposite-field single off lefty Darren Oliver, which prompted Blue Jays manager John Farrell to turn to closer Casey Janssen.
Janssen retired one before Cody Ross smacked a hard-hit single to left to put runners on first and second for Gomez, who took an 0-1 offering from Janssen the other way past a diving Gose in right for his first career triple.
The ninth-inning heroics were only needed after Vicente Padilla coughed up a 5-4 Red Sox lead in the eighth inning.
Padilla allowed back-to-back hits to begin the frame, the second an RBI double to Brett Lawrie that tied the game at 5.
Chris Carpenter, who recorded his first Major League win, relieved Padilla and got J.P. Arencibia to fly out to center field with two on to get out of the eighth after Nava's spectacular play in left earlier in the frame.
"It worked out and it meant a lot to keep that guy from scoring," said Nava, whose catch held Lawrie at second. "I haven't had too many, but that one felt good, especially with what was on the line at the time. It meant a lot for the team."
Prior to the game, Valentine called this Red Sox team "the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball."
It came to play Friday, though.
Daisuke Matsuzaka got the start and cruised through the first two innings before running into trouble in the third.
The right-hander hit Moises Sierra to start the inning and then walked three of the next four batters. Matsuzaka threw two wild pitches that led to a pair of runs before Adam Lind hit a groundout that cashed in another, as the Red Sox fell behind, 3-0.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time the Red Sox have allowed three runs in an inning without allowing a hit since June 7, 1974, against the White Sox.
"It was a real waste that I gave up a few runs without giving up any hits," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "It was really unfortunate that I wasn't able to make a small adjustment during that inning and get out of it quicker."
Valentine thought Matsuzaka overthrew some breaking balls, which led to the wild pitches, but overall felt he had his best fastball and changeup of the season.
Matsuzaka settled down and was pulled with one out in the sixth after allowing a triple to Lind. The 32-year- old starter surrendered four runs on three hits, walked three and struck out five.
In his last start, also against the Blue Jays, Matsuzaka allowed five runs over just 1 1/3 innings and had surrendered at least five runs in three of his previous four outings.
Trailing, 3-0, Matsuzaka's battery mate tied things up in the fourth.
Ryan Lavarnway drilled a three-run homer in the fourth inning on an 0-1 pitch from Blue Jays starter Aaron Laffey on a line to left field for his second homer of the season to even the game at 3.
Lavarnway felt it was the most that he and Matsuzaka have been on the same page this season.
The following inning, Boston took advantage of a defensive miscue by Lawrie.
With two out and Mike Aviles at second, Lawrie fielded a grounder off the bat of Gomez as Aviles broke for third. Instead of throwing out Gomez at first, Lawrie attempted to tag Aviles but was deked out -- Aviles spun around him and dove into the bag safely.
"I went to go tag him, and I don't know," Lawrie said. "I have to watch the replay, as far as I'm concerned, he was out of the baseline, from what I saw."
Valentine disagreed with Lawrie.
"How about that move? I don't think he was out of the baseline," Valentine said. "Mike didn't give up, he gave everything he had to avoid the tag and he did."
Lavarnway then walked to load the bases before Nava hit a two-run single to right field to put the Red Sox ahead, 5-3.
Nava, Gomez and Ellsbury all recorded multihit games.
Boston, which snapped a two-game skid, moved to within one game of fourth place in the American League East behind Toronto.
Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.