While their division rivals continue to stock up ahead of the trade deadline, the Red Sox — who have yet to make a significant move — were obliterated by the Blue Jays by a final score of 13-1 at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
Eduardo Rodriguez, making his first start since leaving his last one early with migraine symptoms, quite simply did not look like himself.
Over just 3 1/3 innings of work, the left-hander surrendered six runs — all of which were earned — on seven hits, four walks, and eight strikeouts.
After striking out the first batter he faced in George Springer, Rodriguez proceeded to load the bases on two hits and a four-pitch walk. Teoscar Hernandez drove in two of those runners on a hard-hit RBI double and Cavan Biggio followed with an RBI single, giving the Jays a 3-0 lead right out of the chute.
Rodriguez’s struggles persisted in the second, as he yielded back-to-back doubles to Reese McGuire and Springer to increase Toronto’s lead even further. The Venezuelan southpaw rallied by striking out the side and tossing a scoreless third inning, but got knocked around once more in the fourth.
Loading the bases once again with one out, Rodriguez issued a bases-loaded free pass to Marcus Semien, marking the unofficial end his outing since he was still responsible for three runners on base.
Phillips Valdez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in relief of Rodriguez, and he allowed one of the runners he inherited to score on an RBI forceout from Bo Bichette to officially close the book on Rodriguez’s night.
Of the 92 pitches Rodriguez threw, 57 went for strikes and 18 went for swings-and-misses. The 28-year-old hurler ultimately suffered his sixth loss of the year while seeing his ERA on the season rise to an unsightly 5.60.
Valdez, meanwhile, got through the rest of the fourth inning unscathed, but walked a pair in the top of the fifth before serving up a monstrous 436-foot three-run home run over the Green Monster to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., which put the Blue Jays up 9-0.
Four more Toronto runs were pushed across off Sox reliever Brandon Workman, who allowed three Jays to cross the plate on four hits in the seventh before yielding an additional tally on two hits in the seventh.
In that very same seventh inning, a sleepy, Rafael Devers-less Red Sox lineup scored their first run of the evening after being held solemnly in check by Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu, who hurled six innings of scoreless baseball in his third start of the season against Boston.
Christian Vazquez ripped a one-out double off Blue Jays reliever Taylor Saucedo to begin things in the seventh and Bobby Dalbec followed by driving the backstop in on a run-scoring two-base hit of his own.
That sequence made it a 13-1 contest in favor of Toronto, and the Boston bullpen was able to hold them there as Darwinzon Hernandez twirled a scoreless eighth inning and backup catcher Kevin Plawecki — making his sixth career appearance on the mound — did the same in a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.
That said, the Red Sox still fell to the Blue Jays by a final score of 13-1 on Thursday night as they have to settle for a four-game series split to close out a 5-3 homestand.
With the loss, the Sox also drop to 63-41 on the season, meaning their lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East shrinks to 1 1/2 games.
Renfroe, Verdugo make fantastic catches in back-to-back innings
While the Red Sox did not muster much offensively in their series finale against the Blue Jays, their two starting corner infielders made spectacular catches in the fourth and fifth innings of Thursday night’s contest.
Right fielder Hunter Renfroe robbed Randal Grichuk of a potential 328-foot grand slam off Phillips Valdez to end things in the fourth, while left fielder Alex Verdugo prevented Cavan Biggio from extending his at-bat in the fifth by reaching over the left field wall in foul territory to make an impressive snag.
Dalbec becomes tallest shortstop in Red Sox history
Bobby Dalbec, who started at third base on Thursday, took over for Xander Bogaerts at shortstop in the seventh inning and became the tallest player (6-foot-4) to play at that particular position for the Red Sox.
Next up: Huge weekend at the Trop
The Red Sox will board a flight for Tampa, Fla. Thursday night as they prepare to embark upon their longest road trip of the season (10 games) that includes stops in Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto — yes, Toronto.
To kick the road trip off, the Sox and Rays will go at it in the first game of a three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field on Friday night.
Left-hander Martin Perez is slated to start for Boston in the opener, while fellow southpaw Josh Fleming is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for NESN and MLB Network.
(Picture of Alex Cora and Eduardo Rodriguez: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)