The Red Sox certainly had their chances to take the first game of their doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Wednesday afternoon, but struggled mightily to capitalize on those opportunities
After Tuesday night’s contest was postponed on account of inclement weather, Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 4-1 in the seven-inning day cap of Wednesday’s twin bill.
Matched up against Jays starter Robbie Ray, the Sox got to the veteran lefty right away in the first inning, with Enrique Hernandez drawing a leadoff walk, Rafael Devers advancing him to third base on a single, and J.D. Martinez driving him in on an RBI groundout.
Garrett Richards, making his 20th start of the season for Boston, allowed Toronto to tie things back up at one run apiece to begin things in the second, but the Red Sox had a golden opportunity to re-take the lead in their half of the frame.
With Alex Verdugo, Kevin Plawecki, and Bobby Dalbec loading the bases with two hits and a walk, it appeared as though the Boston bats had Ray on the ropes. However, Michael Chavis and Hernandez both stuck out without advancing a runner, while Devers flew out sharply to center field, marking the first of several scoring chances the Sox squandered.
Richards, meanwhile, rebounded from allowing a run in the second by tossing a scoreless top of the third, but then got rocked for two runs in the fourth — when he served up a two-run home run to Randal Grichuk — and one run in the fifth when he served up a leadoff homer to George Spriner, putting his side in a 4-1 deficit.
That, as well as a hard-hit single off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., would prove to be how Richards’ day would end, as the veteran right-hander was pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora after surrendering four earned runs on eight hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work.
In relief of Richards, Yacksel Rios got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, and he stranded Guerrero Jr. by retiring the first three batters he faced.
The Red Sox once again found themselves in a prime run-scoring spot in their half of the fifth, as Hunter Renfroe came to the plate with one out representing the tying run after Devers and Martinez both reached base.
Renfroe, however, fell victim to a seven-pitch swinging strikeout, while Christian Vazquez flew out to right field to extinguish the threat.
Rios continued with another scoreless frame in the top of the sixth, but Ray countered by holding the Sox in check in the sixth.
Brandon Workman also kept Toronto off the scoreboard in the seventh and final inning to keep Boston within three runs. That said, a pinch-hitting Jarren Duran struck out and Hernandez and Devers both flew out against Blue Jays reliever Justin Romano to seal a sleepy 4-1 defeat for the Sox.
All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base as a team.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 62-40 on the season. They will look to bounce back in the night cap of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to get the ball for Boston, while veteran left-hander Steven Matz will do the same for Toronto.
First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Garrett Richards: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)