Mother Nature can't halt Sox skid; Jays roll
September, 9, 2012
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- There's good news, and then there's bad news as far as the Boston Red Sox are concerned these days.
The good news: The New England Patriots begin their season Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
The bad news: The Red Sox's losing skid continues, as the Toronto Blue Jays posted a 9-2 victory Saturday night at Fenway Park. Boston now has lost 10 of its past 11 games and suffered its second straight loss on this homestand.
Mother Nature must be a Sox fan because she did everything she could to save the Sox from themselves; she sure tried to wipe out this latest losing debacle under a flood. But a pair of lengthy rain delays, lasting 58 minutes and 1 hour, 5 minutes, respectively, couldn't subdue the Blue Jays, whose victory left the Sox alone in last place in the American League East.
As if the losing streak and rain delays weren't bad enough, Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was awful. In his eighth start this season, the right-hander lasted only 1 1/3 innings, and allowed five runs on five hits with one walk, two strikeouts, a home run and a hit batsman.
After retiring three of the four batters he faced in the first inning, Matsuzaka surrendered a leadoff home run to the Jays' Yunel Escobar in the second inning. Toronto's Kelly Johnson hit a chopper up the middle, J.P. Arencibia was hit by a pitch, Adeiny Hechavarria provided an RBI double, Anthony Gose added a two-run single and Rajai Davis ended the scoring in the second inning with a sacrifice fly.
After the Jays' Colby Rasmus followed with a single to right, Matsuzaka's night was over.
"He had a good first," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "The first pitch of the second inning goes over the fence, and after that he made decent pitches. The changeup on the base hit up the middle by Johnson, it was a pretty good pitch. The high hopper to third base, if they weren't expecting so much rain it probably would have been softer in front of the plate. If, if, if. But he didn't pitch well enough."
Believe it or not, it wasn't his worst start of the season.
He lasted only one inning and allowed five runs on four hits, including two home runs, against the Oakland Athletics on July 2.
On Saturday, the only real entertainment of the night came from the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.
During the second rain delay at Fenway Park, as the grounds crew was preparing the field for play, the Yankees game was shown live on the center-field video board.
Baltimore was clinging to a one-run lead while the Yankees had runners on the corners with one out in the top of the ninth inning. The Yankees' Mark Teixeira hit into a 4-6-3 double play, and the remaining fans at Fenway erupted in celebration, especially when the replay was shown over and over and it was clear Teixeira was safe at first.
The Orioles finished with a 5-4 win and now share the top spot in the AL East with New York, giving Red Sox fans something to cheer about here Saturday night.
Just a reminder: Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.
WEB GEM: Gose, the Blue Jays' right fielder, turned in the defensive play of the game. With two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the second inning, the Sox's Mike Aviles lifted a high foul ball down the right-field line. Gose, in an all-out sprint, made a sliding catch at the base of the wall near Canvas Alley. It's an extremely difficult catch to make, given the fact that the corner of the wall sticks out almost in fair territory.
UP NEXT: The Red Sox send right-hander Clay Buchholz (11-5, 4.47 ERA) to face Blue Jays righty Carlos Villanueva (7-5, 3.42). Buchholz is 8-3 lifetime against Toronto, including a 2-1 record against the Jays at Fenway Park.
DOWN ON THE FARM: Boston's Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, defeated the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 7-1 in Game 4 of their best-of-five, first-round playoff series to advance to the Governors' Cup finals. The PawSox will face either the Charlotte Knights or Indianapolis Indians for the title. It is the first time since 2003 that Pawtucket has reached the finals, and it last won the Governors' Cup in 1984. The PawSox are the only affiliate in the Red Sox organization to earn a postseason berth this year. Games 1 and 2 of the finals will be played at McCoy Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday.