Boston Red Sox season has been a series of a couple steps forward followed by a few steps back. And while the Sox have still won five of their last seven games, a second straight loss to Toronto on Wednesday night certainly hurts and takes a big chunk of confidence away from the reigning World Series champs going forward.
It all started good and well for Boston, as David Ortiz absolutely launched a home run 425 feet away into the right field bleachers and probably would have landed a lot further away than that had it not hit the face of the fourth deck. The dinger put three runs on the board in the first inning against RA Dickey before the Blue Jays even had a chance to swing the bat. It also put Ortiz's name all alone in the record books. His 37th career home run in Toronto (a combination of both the Roger's Centre and the Sky Dome) gave him the outright lead for most home runs there as a visiting player. Previously, Ortiz had been tied with Alex Rodriguez. And the three RBI's also gave Big Papi 1500 for his career.
Making his second start since the All-Star break, Clay Buchholz gave his nice lead away without wasting much time. Buchholz was touched up for three in the very first inning after the first four Blue Jays scored. Jose Bautista and Josh Thole hit and RBI doubles and the game was tied at three after one inning.
Both starters settled down after the rough first inning until Xander Bogaerts gave Boston the lead back with an RBI double to score Daniel Nava in the fifth. The run-scoring his was part of a 2-for-4 night for the Boston shorstop, but Toronto answered right back in the sixth with two runs of its own.
With a 5-4 lead, Toronto added one more insurance run when Andrew Miller entered the game in the seventh and Jose Bautista went out. Joey Bats connected for his 18th home run of the season to lead off the seventh against Miller, who typically comes in to face left-handed hitters. Miller would go on to get the Blue Jays in order after the home run, including two strikeouts, but the damage had been done.
Toronto's bullpen did an admirable job to preserve the win. Aaron Sanchez made his Major League debut to throw two perfect innings in the seventh and eighth. Sanchez struck out two in his two innings of work and handed the ball over to Casey Janssen who completed a perfect ninth to notch his 15th save of the season.
Boston did remain 8.5 back in the East after a Baltimore loss, but lost ground on the Blue Jays, Yankees and Rays, who all won. The Sox go to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays - winners of seven straight games.