Winners of five straight ballgames and rolling in the start of second half play, the Boston Red Sox found themselves looking to do something they hadn't since May.
That would be to win a Jake Peavy start.
Despite not pitching terribly in his last eight outings (including three straight quality starts), Peavy had not pitched his team to victory since late May - whether he got the victory himself, or not. And the unfortunate streak will prolong for another five days after the Toronto Blue Jays got to Peavy late for a 7-3 win.
The Jays scored just one run in the first five innings on a little tapper in front of the pitcher's mound in the third. But Boston could not manage a single run to that point against J.A. Happ, who spun six scoreless innings to move to 8-5 on the season. Despite the lack of run support behind him, Peavy kept battling and worked into the sixth where he got touched up a little bit.
Jose Reyes and Dioner Navarro each went deep in the sixth to push Toronto's lead to 4-0. The unlikely home run duo hit both long balls over the fence in right field and gave the Blue Jays the separation they needed.
Toronto's bullpen did its job from there, not perfectly, but effectively. The combination of Dustin McGowan, Aaron Loup, Casey Janssen and Brett Cecil threw the last three innings to uphold the win even while allowing two home runs in the process.
David Ortiz got Boston on the board with a solo home run in the eighth and then Stephen Drew added his second home run of the series with a relatively meaningless two-run dinger in the top of the ninth inning when the game was basically out of reach. A pair of Blue Jays' runs in the bottom half of the eighth had made it 7-1 before Boston had its last chance to do any damage.
Reyes and Melky Cabrera each went 3-for-5 at the top of the lineup and each drove in two runs while scoring once. Shane Victorino continued his hot hitting since returning from injury with another three hits himself. And Drew's recent power showing should give John Farrell nothing but encouragement to give his $10+ million shortstop more playing time.
The win keeps Toronto within four games of the division lead while dropping Boston to last place, all alone. The Red Sox sit 8.5 games out of the top spot with four more teams to pass on the climb. The rubber match will be Wednesday.