BOSTON -- The Red Sox have reached DEFCON 1 with pitcher Clay Buchholz. That's how great a threat Buchholz now poses to the prospects for a successful 2014 season and underscores the urgency for the Sox to discover what is ailing their erstwhile all-star -- whether it's physical, psychological or personal.
The result: Boston's losing streak is now six games, the Sox falling 6-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays before a crowd of 36,116 in what threatens to be one of the ugliest homestands seen in these parts in a long time. The Sox, swept three straight by the Detroit Tigers over the weekend, have been outscored 26-8 in the first five games of this winless homestand, which ends with a 4:05 p.m. game Thursday against the Blue Jays.
Re-Encarnacion: For the second straight game and fourth time this month, Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs. He has four multihomer games this month, seven home runs in his past six games, a major league-leading 11 home runs in May and 13 overall. He didn't go deep this season until April 22.
The last opposing player to have multihomer games in back-to-back games was Oakland's Mark McGwire, who hit two on June 10, 1995, and followed with three home runs the next day. Only three other opposing players have accomplished the feat -- another Oakland Athletic, Troy Neel (1993), and two Yankees, Mickey Mantle (1966) and Bill Skowron (1957).
The Buch's stomped here: What has been apparent for some time was placed on uncomfortable display again Wednesday night, as Buchholz once again failed to past five innings, for the fourth time in nine outings this season, including two of the past three. After giving up 10 hits in each of his past two starts, Buchholz yielded nine Wednesday night, but only because manager John Farrell spared him further abuse at the hands of the Blue Jays.
And this time, Buchholz could not claim, as he had after his past two starts, that he had been a victim of balls finding holes and open grass. For the second straight night, the Blue Jays unloaded the heavy artillery, with Encarnacion inflicting the most damage.
Encarnacion launched his 12th home run of the season leading off the second, and followed an inning later with No. 13, this one with Adam Lind aboard on a triple to the center-field triangle. By unofficial count, Buchholz gave up a dozen line drives or balls hit to the warning track or beyond. Grady Sizemore, playing center field in place of Jackie Bradley Jr., needed an oxygen tank as much as a glove Wednesday night, for all the times he set out in pursuit of Blue Jays rockets.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, countered with Shane Victorino's first home run of the season, a two-out solo shot in the fourth. The Sox had baserunners in each of the first six innings but stranded nine of them.
How bad has it become for Buchholz?
• His earned run average of 6.32 is the second-worst among all major league qualifiers to Kevin Correia of the Twins (6.52). He has allowed 71 hits and walked 16 in 47 innings, leaving him with a major league-worst WHIP of 1.85.
• In his past three starts, he has pitched just a total of 15 innings, allowing a staggering 29 hits and seven walks while yielding 13 earned runs.
• After barely throwing his trademark changeup in his past couple of starts, Buchholz threw 10 on Wednesday, only four for strikes -- only one of which induced a swing and miss.
All this from a pitcher whose record through May 22 last season was 9-0 with a 1.73 ERA. But it was in his last start of that month, in Chicago, that Buchholz's problems began. He experienced discomfort in his AC joint -- caused, he claimed, by the awkward way he held his sleeping toddler -- was skipped a start, made two more starts in June and then was shut down for three months with what was ultimately described as bursitis.
Silver linings: On the day the Sox officially announced the signing of Stephen Drew, soon-to-be-displaced shortstop Xander Bogaerts had three hits, his second three-hit game of the season. He is 8-for-his-past-14 in the past three games and is batting .394 (13-for-33) in his past nine games. Bogaerts said last month he always gets off slowly, especially in cold weather, and is now showing signs of what all the fuss was about. ... Right fielder Shane Victorino, dropped to the No. 6 spot in the order, hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot, in the fourth. ... .A.J. Pierzynski, hitless in his previous 11 at-bats and 2-for-his-past 27, had three singles. ... The Sox, after being held scoreless for 13 1/3 innings by opposing bullpens, finally broke through for three runs in the eighth against the Jays' pen, fueled by back-to-back doubles by Mike Carp and Bogaerts. Carp had two doubles in his 12th start of the season. He had just 17 at-bats previously this month.
Leadoff quandary: Grady Sizemore, reinserted at the top of the lineup, walked and stole second in the first inning but went hitless in his next four at-bats, striking out with two on to end the eighth after striking out with the bases loaded to end the sixth.