|Last night's game featured 23 runs and 27 hits (Boston Globe)|
With both teams sending mediocre starting pitchers to the bump and the air still warm from an 85 degree day in Boston, the conditions were ripe for a slugfest. After a five-run first inning in which Pablo Sandoval and Mookie Betts homered, the Red Sox were off and running. Toronto got one back in the top of the second on Justin Smoak's triple into the triangle, which led Betts to crash headlong into the outfield wall.
Boston appeared to put the game out of reach with Dustin Pedroia's three-run shot in the third, which increased the home team's lead to seven and drove Jays starter Drew Hutchison from the game. Of course, no lead is ever safe in Fenway Park, especially when Joe Kelly and co. are pitching.
Kelly gave those three runs back in the top of the fifth, and when he left the game after the sixth his ERA had risen to 5.45. He was still in line for the win until Matt Barnes, Junichi Tazawa, and Tommy Layne proceeded to allow nine runs in the seventh inning. Sandoval's ninth error of the season didn't help matters, and Smoak capped the monster inning with a two-run shot into the Monster seats. The inning, which began with Boston leading 8-4, ended with Boston trailing 13-8.
The Red Sox mounted a serious threat in the bottom of the eighth, scoring one to narrow the gap to four and loading the bases for Mike Napoli. Napoli, the potential tying-run, could have knotted up the game with one swing of the bat. Instead the bearded slugger struck out on three pitches, frozen by a Brett Cecil curveball right down broadway.
Boston reached double digits with Rusney Castillo's RBI double in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. Cecil fanned Pedroia to end a game in which Boston scored 10 runs, pounded out 12 hits, slugged three home runs, and still lost. Leaving nine men on base didn't help, but at least they tallied more runs last night than they did during their miserable three-game trip to Baltimore.
With their fourth loss in a row, the last-place Sox slipped eight games below .500. They'll try to snap Toronto's nine-game winning streak this afternoon behind Clay Buchholz, who had been a roll before getting roughed up by Oakland last Sunday. The Red Sox will get another chance to fatten their averages with R.A. Dickey, who owns a 5.35 ERA and 5.38 FIP, on the hill for the Jays.
But as last night proved, even if they do that won't guarantee victory.