TORONTO -- Daniel Bard's season-long control issues once again plagued the Red Sox, as the right-hander's wildness put Boston into an insurmountable hole in Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays.
Bard allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings due to a near-total lack of command. Bard issued six walks and hit two batters, getting pulled from the game after hitting Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion in the hand with a pitch.
Bard allowed only one hit in his short outing, but it was a big one. After walking his first two batters of the game, Bard left a 3-2 fastball over the plate to Jose Bautista that the Toronto slugger smashed over the left-field wall for his 14th home run of the season. Bautista had entered the game hitless in 11 career plate appearances against Bard.
After walking the first two batters of the second inning, Bard recorded two strikeouts and looked on pace to escape the jam. His first pitch to Yunel Escobar, however, was a slider that curved too far inside, bouncing off Escobar's hand and hitting the shortstop in the face. Bard then issued a bases-loaded walk to Bautista and hit Encarnacion to force in another run before he was removed after just 55 pitches.
Bard now has 37 walks in 55 innings this season, against just 34 strikeouts. His 6.05 BB/9 rate and 0.92 K/BB ratio are by far the worst of his career.
Escobar and Encarnacion required examination by Blue Jays trainers but remained in the game as base runners. Escobar continued to play in the field while Encarnacion (who was visibly pained and repeatedly shaking his hand after being hit) was replaced by Jeff Mathis during his next turn through the lineup.
Boston catcher Kelly Shoppach was hit to lead off the third in what seemed, despite the circumstances, like just a missed pitch by Jays starter Drew Hutchison. Things got heated in the sixth when Kevin Youkilis was hit in the helmet by a pitch. An angry Youkilis exchanged words with Hutchison but that was the extent of the confrontation. In the eighth, Youkilis' first pitch from reliever Francisco Cordero was also near his head but Youkilis didn't react.
The Boston lineup was stifled by Hutchison, as the rookie held the Red Sox to five hits and one run in seven innings of work. Shoppach's solo homer in the fifth represented Boston's lone run of the game. The Sox put two more men on base that inning but Adrian Gonzalez popped out to end the threat.
The bullpen kept the Red Sox within reach, as three relievers limited Toronto to just five hits for the remainder of the game once Bard departed. Franklin Morales had the most impressive stint, entering directly after Bard and tossing 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.