Sox unable to cash in against Jays' bullpen
BOSTON -- Comebacks by the Red Sox have been all too scarce this season. The club seemed poised to break its trend of disheartening finishes on Saturday, after fighting to overcome an early four-run deficit.
But Boston left the job half-finished in a deflating 5-4, extra-innings loss to the Blue Jays, as its offense missed several chances to take the lead outright. At no point was this more apparent than in the seventh inning, when the Sox were unable to cash in on two chances with the bases loaded in a tie game.
After David Ortiz hit a solo shot to even the score in the sixth inning, Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt and Hanley Ramirez strung together one-out base hits in the seventh -- the kind of cohesive effort the team has often lacked this season.
"When David hit the home run, all the momentum is on our side," shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "I think we just had to grab it right there and run with it."
Then, suddenly, Boston's bats went cold. Ortiz struck out on five pitches, Bogaerts went down swinging on three pitches, and Blue Jays reliever Liam Hendriks, who entered the game with a 13.50 ERA with men in scoring position, left the seventh inning a happy man.
Bogaerts said the disparity between knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and Hendriks, who features a mid-90s fastball, made for a difficult adjustment.
"We had Dickey in the game, then [Hendriks] comes in right there, that's a big difference in velocity," Bogaerts said. "Stuff like that. We were a bit off balance right there when that guy came in. We were a bit late on pitches."
Toronto went on to retire the last 14 Red Sox batters in order, with four relievers combining for five strikeouts over five scoreless innings.
As a team, the Red Sox are now batting .223 after the sixth inning, which ranks well inside the bottom third of both leagues.
"We had a number of opportunities," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We clawed back into this one to tie it. No bigger than the seventh inning, where you've got bases loaded, middle of the order and a big opportunity that we were unable to cash in."
Boston's bullpen ultimately gave in first, with Russell Martin clubbing a solo shot off reliever Matt Barnes to score the go-ahead run in the 11th inning.
The defeat saddled the Red Sox with their fifth straight loss, as they dropped to a season-high nine games below the .500 mark. With such high preseason hopes surrounding the club, its poor record is both puzzling and disappointing to the players.
"If you look at the team on paper, we're probably one of the best in the game," Bogaerts said. "But we haven't showed that on the field, so that's all that matters. Performance on the field."
"You have to show up tomorrow and play," Pedroia said. "We are all grown men. No one is going to start crying."