Boston Red Sox - 4 Toronto Blue Jays - 3 (Boxscore for Mobile)
Attempting to remove the bad taste left in their collective mouths from last nights heartbreaking loss the Toronto Blue Jays went into action Sunday afternoon trying to take the series from the Boston Red Sox.
To the mound for the Blue Jays, Mark Buehrle (14-7, 3.66 ERA). For the Sox, Rich Hill (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
The Red Sox threatened early with runners on 1st and 3rd but a David Ortiz ground ball to Clifford Pennington, who began the 4-5-3 double play, ended the inning without any damage done.
Another runner (Travis Shaw) made it to scoring position in the 2nd inning (singled and advanced on a swinging bunt) but again Buehrle managed to escape without damage, though it certainly felt like just a matter of time before that changed.
Edwin Encarnacion singled to lead off the Bottom of the 2nd. Following a Chris Colabello strike out Dioner Navarro jumped on Hill drilling the ball over the left field wall to give the Jays the lead. The HR for Navarro was his 4th on the season giving the Jays a 2-0 lead.
A beautiful push bunt by Kevin Pillar (and a Robbie Alomar type slide into first) and a Ryan Goins single kept the rally going after the rally-killing HR (wait...) for Ben Revere who singled to center and Pillar narrowly beat the throw to the plate! 3-0 Blue Jays!
The 4th Inning was... interesting... for Mark and the Jays. Led off by a Xander Bogaerts infield single off the glove of Goins which led to a very tough grounder to first that Colabello kept in front of him for an out. Unfortunately for the Jays they were in the shift with Josh Donaldson covering the bag at 2nd and Bogaerts made a heads up read and broke for 3rd with no one covering the base.
Papa Buehrle made the ill-advised decision to try to make a throw to 3rd hoping to get Donaldson in stride to make a play but the ball got away leading to the first Red Sox run of the game. 3-1 Jays.
Then, a broken bat appeared to case Buehrle to hesitate off the mound making him late to cover first on a ground ball that pulled Colabello away from the bag and Shaw had an infield single. Followed by a Rusney Castillo double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for Sandy Leon.
Mercifully Leon would pop out to Pennington to end the inning limiting the damage to one run.
Then, finally, as many expected with how shaky he had been up to the 5th Inning, the damn burst.
A Jackie Bradley Jr single followed by a a pair of outs, a Bogaerts single, an Ortiz walk to load the bases, and a Travis Shaw two-run single scoring Betts (who had made it on base on a fielders choice retiring Bradley) tying the game. 3-3 tie.
At the end of the day Mark Buehrle wasn't great, but with a lot of help from some solid defense behind him he managed to go 6 IP allowing 3 ER on 8 Hits, with 1 K and 2 BB.
Liam Hendriks entered the game to face the top of the Red Sox order. Dustin Pedrioa would single to kick off the inning before Hendriks would get Bogaerts swinging and then be pulled in favour of Brett Cecil. Cecil, in true Cecil form, would be nothing short of brilliant striking out both David Ortiz and Travis Shaw to end the inning.
Rich Hill on the other hand, though also giving up three runs, seemed to be rolling through most of the game baffling the Jays and striking out ten batters through seven innings allowing 7 Hits, 3 ER's and left in line for the win.
Cecil would stay on in the Top of the 8th and the decision would be costly.
Cecil would commit an error on a slow hopper by Pablo Sandoval giving the Sox a runner to start the inning. Mark Lowe would come in for Cecil but Panda would be moved over on a fielders choice, and then again on a Sandy Leon single before Jackie Bradley Jr. would hit a sac fly to center bringing the runner it.
Pillar's throw, it must be said, was on time but short hopped Dioner Navarro and it ate up the veteran catcher allowing Pablo to score. 4-3 Red Sox.
In the bottom of the inning Edwin Encarnacion would single to the wall in right prompting Gibby to pinch run with Dalton Pompey with Chris Colabello, then 0-3, at the plate. Pompey appeared to be dead to rights on a pick off attempt but the ball got away from the Sox First Baseman giving Cola a chance with a runner in scoring position.
Working the count to 3-1 before making contact. The ball took a wicked hop but Deven Marrero would snare it and make the throw to first to end the inning.
LaTroy Hawkins was the next Blue Jay out of the pen coming in in the 9th and would quickly work two groundouts (Pedroia and Bogaerts) on six pitches bringing up Big Papi who, surprise, surprise, grounded out to end the inning sending the game to the Bottom of the 9th!
Unfortunately, Navarro would foul out, Pillar would ground out leaving Russell Martin, who came on to pinch hit for Ryan Goins, as the Jays last hope. On a 3-2 pitch Martin would give the dying Jays hope doubling down the right field line bringing up Justin Smoak with two out and a chance to be the hero. Ezequiel Carerra would pinch run for the Jays catcher.
Facing a lefty, batting right handed, batting for Darwin Barney (who had come in defensively after Matt Hague had pinch hit for Cliff Pennington in the 7th... I didn't mention it because Hague struck out so it didn't ultimately matter at the time), Smoak would strike out to end the ball game.
Jays Lose 4-3.
Jays of the Day: Loss... No one.
Suckage: Chris Colabello (-.173), Josh Donaldson (-.122), Mark Lowe (-.130), Justin Smoak (-.142)
The Jays lose the series. The game was sloppy. Especially so considering how good defensively the team has been. And now, with this loss, sit just 3.0 games above the New York Yankees and now go into the three game series against the Yankees that could, in theory, decide the division title.
Series starts tomorrow, 7:05 PM EST start, David Price is on the mound for the Jays.
Sloppy defense, lack of clutch hitting, great performance by Rich Hill doom the Jays in the rubber match of the series.