After reaching a season high record of 20 games over .500, the Boston Red Sox dropped both contests over the weekend to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. On Saturday night, the Sox fell 4-1 while on Sunday afternoon they lost by a score of 15-4. The two losses drop Boston 4.5 games behind the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays and their Wild Card lead now sits at only .5 a game over both the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins who are respectively tied for the AL Central Division lead.
On Saturday night Paul Byrd made his Fenway Park debut in a Red Sox uniform but his performance was overshadowed by former AL Cy Young award winner Roy Halladay’s outing. Halladay allowed only seven hits while pitching a complete game for the 8th time this season, the most in the majors. The Sox only run came in the ninth inning on a Dustin Pedroia solo homerun into the Monster seats to lead off the inning, but there would be no rally in this one. After the homer, Halladay calmly retired David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew to end the game and pick up his 14th win on the season.
After scoring 39 runs in three games against the Texas Rangers, the Sox could just never get something going against Halladay and the Jays.
“You can’t get caught up on how a team’s going—good or bad,” Halladay said after pitching his 39th career complete game. “Sure they were swinging the bats good against Texas. I look at quality pitches. I try to avoid who’s hot and who’s not.”
All the run support Halladay would need came with one swing of the bat by Alex Rios in the top of the first inning when he took Byrd deep into the Monster seats for his ninth homerun of the year, a two run shot that would prove to be enough to lift the Jays to their sixth win over the Sox this season in eight games played.
“He should make a pitching video. He’s pretty tough,” Pedroia said. “He throws strikes. He’s got great stuff and it’s tough to get into a rhythm on him because he’s creating his own rhythm for himself. We didn’t get anything going.”
The six other hits the Sox recorded were all singles, and three of them were erased by double plays so there just wasn’t much going on for the Boston bats, it was all Halladay.
On Sunday, the Sox looked to ace Josh Beckett to get the job done on the mound after the tough loss the night before, but Beckett lasted only 2 1/3 innings in his worst outing of the season and the Sox fell again to Toronto 15-4.
The Jays exploded for six runs in the first and knocked Beckett out of the game in the third by plating two more on DH Adam Lind’s eight homer of the season to make the score a comfortable 8-0 margin. On the afternoon, Lind went 3-6 with a homerun, four RBI’s and two runs scored. Alex Rios collected five hits and tied a franchise record with four doubles in the game; he also knocked in a pair of runs. Lyle Overbay, Mark Scutaro and John McDonald all collected three hits a piece as well.
“The fastballs Beckett threw ran back over the middle. They were elevated,” manager Terry Francona said. “We spent the majority of the day doing that. They were pretty consistent in scoring.”
The bullpen did not provide any type of relief to stop the bleeding as they proceeded to allow seven earned runs over the final 6 2/3 innings of the contest.
“Just a bad day all the way around,” Beckett said.
Boston’s two hottest hitters, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, were both able to connect on solo homeruns but other then three hits by rookie Jed Lowrie there wasn’t much going on for the Sox all afternoon.
For Toronto, Shaun Marcum (8-5) gave up one run and five hits in five innings earning the victory. He’s won his last three starts, allowing only four runs in 18 innings.
Boston will now hit the road for a set of three game series against division foes Baltimore, Toronto and New York. The Sox record against the AL East this season is only 21-23, the only division they have a losing record against. The series vs. New York on Aug. 26-28 will potentially be the Red Sox last trip to Yankee Stadium before it closes at the end of the season.
The next home game to be played at Fenway Park is scheduled for Friday August 29th against the Chicago White Sox.