BOSTON -- Unable to produce enough offensively for the third consecutive game, the Blue Jays were swept out of Fenway Park, departing with a 4-3 loss in the finale of their season series with the Red Sox on Thursday night."They pitched good, there's no doubt about it," Blue Jays manager
BOSTON -- Unable to produce enough offensively for the third consecutive game, the Blue Jays were swept out of Fenway Park, departing with a 4-3 loss in the finale of their season series with the Red Sox on Thursday night.
"They pitched good, there's no doubt about it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said in regards to his team's struggles to manufacture runs. "All three games, our guys pitched pretty damned good, gave us a chance. Part of it's young guys learning up here. Part of it's we've had guys who've had down years, off years. I don't know any more than that."
After scraping out four hits on Wednesday night, things looked to be coming around as the Blue Jays reached that mark by the third inning, even scoring a run in the process, something they were unable to do since Tuesday's sixth inning.
Toronto's first run was manufactured by way of a single, with Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s one-out base hit followed by Justin Smoak's two-out RBI single.
From there, the Blue Jays mustered just three more hits on the night.
After a fourth-inning leadoff single from Randal Grichuk, the Red Sox retired 13 straight batters before Gurriel knocked his eighth home run of the season in the eighth inning, a solo shot off a light stanchion in left field against Bobby Poyner.
"Any homers are nice," Gurriel said. "I just always try to go out there and put good contact. I had a good pitch to put a good swing, and I'm just happy that he threw me a ball that I could do some damage."
The Blue Jays would tie the game later that inning, loading the bases with a single, walk and hit batter before Kevin Pillar took a 100.3-mph fastball from Joe Kelly off his right wrist to bring a run in.
However, Toronto was unable to capitalize any further in the inning, and Boston struck in its very next at-bat to plate the eventual game-winning run when Yangervis Solarte was unable to corral a popup with a runner on third.
With the loss, Toronto finished 4-15 on the year versus American League East-leading Boston.
"Not for nothing, but they have 101 wins so far," Gurriel said. "They have great pitching, great defense, they can hit. It's tough to play them. They have good pitchers that were very good, hard to hit. We tried everything we could, but that's a good team over there. It wasn't easy."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the score knotted at 3, reliever Danny Barnes came on to pitch the eighth and started things off by forcing J.D. Martinez to ground out to second base. Xander Bogaerts then doubled down the left-field line and stole third base to force Toronto to pull the infield in. With one out, Blake Swihart popped up a 2-2 pitch to the edge of the outfield grass on the second-base side. Solarte, running with his back to home plate, got under it, but it hit his glove and popped out, allowing Bogaerts to score the go-ahead run.
"You got to make that play," Gibbons said. "It's not always easy when you're infield in [and] you get one of those that hangs up there. But you make that 9-out-of-10. Today was just the 10th one."
Of the eight home runs Gurriel has hit this season, five have come in the seventh inning or later.
HE SAID IT
"I do know one thing: Anybody out there that thinks you can win not playing defense is crazy. There's a lot of people that do. Look at all the teams that win in this league if you play defense. We've had a tough time this year with that." -- Gibbons
The Blue Jays depart Boston for the Bronx, where they will play three games versus the Yankees starting with a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday night. Right-hander Marco Estrada (7-11, 5.32) will make his fourth start of the season against New York in the series opener. He will be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka (11-5, 3.61), who is 10-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 16 career starts versus Toronto.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.