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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4

By Gordon Edes



TORONTO -- The one-hop grounder that Clay Buchholz took off the side of his face in the first inning Wednesday night was more painful. But a second straight loss here to the Toronto Blue Jays may have left the more lasting bruise.

The Red Sox, who can ill afford such reversals during this 13-game stretch against division rivals, took a little more air out of the “They Can Climb Back Into This” movement, losing, 6-4, to the Blue Jays.

Staked to a 3-0 lead by David Ortiz’s fourth home run in three nights, this one off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Buchholz gave it right back in the bottom of the first, an inning in which he gave up four hits, a four-pitch walk and was dazed by Munenori Kawasaki’s comebacker that glanced off his glove and slammed into his cheek.

The Sox regained the lead on two-out doubles by Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts in the fifth, but an inning later the Jays were ahead to stay. Buchholz issued a one-out walk to Josh Thole, Ryan Goins hit a Buchholz changeup for a triple into the gap, and third baseman Bogaerts threw away a routine ground ball by Jose Reyes for the go-ahead run.

Jose Bautista hit Andrew Miller’s first pitch for a home run in the seventh to make it 6-4, and the last 13 Sox batters were set down in order, six by Aaron Sanchez, the Jays’ top prospect whose 98 m.p.h. fastball provided a jarring contrast to Dickey’s floaters.

The Sox, who had pummeled the Jays, 14-1, in the series opener, remain in last place in the AL East, with the series finale Thursday afternoon.

Buchholz was an inefficient mess for most of the night, allowing six hits, walking four and hitting two batters in six innings.

Papi's pace: Ortiz, 38, is on pace to hit 38 home runs this season, which would be his most since hitting a club-record 54 in 2006. Only six players in major league history have hit 38 or more home runs in a season at 38 years or older: Barry Bonds (twice), Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro and Ted Williams. Aaron, Thomas and Williams are Hall of Famers (Thomas's induction comes Sunday). Bonds and Palmeiro have been discredited by their links to performance-enhancing drugs.