Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 3
July, 21, 2012
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox won their first two series after returning from the All-Star break, but they won't make it three straight.
After Saturday's 7-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, the Red Sox need to win Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep by their American League East opponents.
Red Sox starter Aaron Cook worked 6 1/3 innings, and allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits with one walk and one strikeout. He threw 86 pitches, 55 for strikes, and his record dropped to 2-3.
Again, it comes down to pitching.
Cook cruised through the first two innings, retiring all six batters in order. The Red Sox rewarded their starter in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That shot snapped an 0-for-14 slump for the Red Sox catcher, and it was his 18th homer of the season.
With the way Cook was pitching, it appeared the Red Sox would get through the Blue Jays with little worries. Toronto scored one run in the third inning, but Cook then retired the next six batters in the fourth and fifth innings.
Boston still had a 3-1 lead when Cook retired the first two batters in the top of the sixth, but then he walked Colby Rasmus, setting up a two-run homer by Edwin Encarnacion to tie the game at 3.
Cook then allowed a solo home run to the Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia in the top of the seventh as Toronto gained a 4-3 lead. The Jays pushed across two more in the seventh and another in the ninth for a 7-3 advantage, and Boston couldn't respond.
The Red Sox send Jon Lester (5-7, 4.80 ERA) to the mound Sunday. He'll face Toronto left-hander Henderson Alvarez (5-7, 4.29).