Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 6
April, 26, 2014
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
TORONTO -- Takeaways from Boston's favorite indoor arcade, the Rogers Centre, which looked like anything but a funhouse for Clay Buchholz when it opened Saturday afternoon and continued to be a fright show for Junichi Tazawa, but remains a pleasure palace for Sox hitters.
Buchholz gave up three runs five batters into the game, and Tazawa was taken deep by Juan Francisco, the first batter he faced, in the eighth, but with Jays pitcher Brandon Morrow walking the house -- 8 free passes to the first 14 Sox hitters -- and A.J. Pierzynski (grand slam) and Will Middlebrooks going back-to-back, the Sox made it two wins in two games over the Jays.
The result: The Sox won 7-6, before a crowd of 40,322, a six-run third inning wiping out an early 3-0 deficit.
Morose Morrow: The Blue Jays right-hander did not allow a hit in the 2 2/3 innings in which he pitched, the Sox hitting into double plays in each of the first two innings after Morrow walked two batters apiece in both innings. He actually had two out and nobody on in the third when he walked the next four batters, forcing in a run, and causing Jays manager John Gibbons to turn to his bullpen. Just something about watching a pitcher throw only 26 of 65 pitches for strikes that doesn't inspire confidence.
Somewhere in the midst of all those Morrow misfires, Jays pitching coach Pete Walker was ejected.
"An A-bomb for A.J.": Reliever Chad Jenkins needed only two pitches to throw a strike, but that was hammered over the right-center field fence by Pierzynski, almost five years to the day he hit his last grand slam (May 2, 2009 at Texas). Middlebrooks, the next batter, then unloaded on a 2-and-2 pitch to left field for his second home run of the season.
Middlebrooks has 5 home runs and 5 doubles here since the start of the 2013 season, which includes his three-homer game here on April 7, 2013.
Carp diem: Mike Carp, playing first base for Mike Napoli (day off), doubled and scored on Grady Sizemore's double in the fifth. The Sox had just five hits, but four were for extra bases (Dustin Pedroia had a single) and for the second straight game they scored at least seven runs.
Teetering Buchholz: The Sox right-hander, who had a 1.49 ERA in 10 previous starts here, went walk, hit-and-run single, single to the first three Toronto batters, Jose Bautista's single driving in a run. A wild pitch made it 2-0, Dioner Navarro's single put a third run on the board, and Buchholz, who lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his last start (7 H, 6 ER) looked like he might be headed for another early shower.
But while the Jays squared up some balls, they had just two more hits off Buchholz (Bautista double, Ryan Goins single) before he departed with a four-run lead after seven.
Tazawa torched: Tazawa, who gave up 9 home runs last season, 6 to the Blue Jays, was tagged again Saturday, Juan Francisco greeting him with a home run to open the eighth. It was the first run allowed by Tazawa all season, and he gave up another run on three singles. Chris Capuano entered and struck out pinch-hitter Jonathan Diaz, but then walked Jose Reyes after a 10-pitch at-bat.
Koji (extended) Time: Farrell went to closer Koji Uehara for a four-out save, and Uehara ended the eighth by inducing Melky Cabrera to fly to left. But the ninth was not easy. Bautista hit his seventh home run -- the first run allowed by Uehara in 2014 -- Dioner Navarro singled with one out, and Brett Lawrie singled with two. Edwin Encarnacion then drilled a drive to center, but right at Jackie Bradley Jr., Uehara dropping his head in relief.