The Red Sox may not have gotten blown out by the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon, but they still lost. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 4-1 on Fenway Park to extend its losing streak to three and drop to 48-47 on the season.
The lone run the Sox scored came in their half of the second inning. Bobby Dalbec led off the frame by crushing a 391-foot solo shot off Jays starter Alek Manoah for his eighth home run of the season. It gave Boston an early 1-0 lead, and it even had a chance to add on some more as Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a single and advanced all the way up to third base with just one out. But Jeter Downs struck out and Jarren Duran flew out to extinguish the threat.
Toronto took full advantage of that missed opportunity in its half of the third. With Kutter Crawford on the mound for Boston, Matt Chapman led off with a single and promptly scored all the way from first on a game-tying RBI single off the bat of former Red Sox prospect Santiago Espinal. Espinal then moved up to third on a Cavan Biggio double. Both runners scored on an RBI single from George Springer and a sacrifice fly from Alejandro Kirk.
Despite a rocky third inning, Crawford was able to settle in and put together another solid start. Over six strong innings of work, the right-hander allowed just those three earned runs on five hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts on the afternoon. He retired eight of the final nine batters he faced from the fourth inning on and finished with a final pitch count of 77 (52 strikes). The 26-year-old’s ERA on the season now sits at 4.50.
In relief of Crawford, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was aggressive in how he used his bullpen. John Schreiber and Tanner Houck each worked their way around a walk in their respective shutout innings. Ryan Brasier, on the other hand, issued a leadoff single to Kirk in the ninth. Bradley Zimmer came on to pinch-run for Kirk, stole second base, moved up to third on a Bo Bichette groundout, and scored his side’s fourth run on a choppy RBI base hit from Teoscar Hernandez.
Trailing 4-1 going into their half of the ninth inning, the Red Sox had been held in check to that point by the Blue Jays pitching staff. After running into some trouble in the second, Manoah — like Crawford — found a groove and wound up scattering seven hits across six one-run frames.
In the bottom of the eighth, Toronto reliever Adam Cimber plunked two of the first three batters he faced to bring the then-go-ahead run to the plate with only one out. But Franchy Cordero punched out and Dalbec flew out against Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano to end the inning.
Down to their final three outs, Bradley Jr., Yolmer Sanchez, and the pinch-hitting Kevin Plawecki went down quietly against Romano to seal the 4-1 defeat.
All told, Boston went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base as a team. Cordero went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is now 0-for-21 with 17 punchouts in his last seven games. Downs and Duran, meanwhile, combined to go 0-for-7 with five strikeouts.
Saturday’s loss guarantees that the Red Sox will not win their series against the Blue Jays this weekend, meaning they are now 0-11-1 in series against American League East opponents as well as 12-28 within the division.
Next up: Stripling vs. Bello in finale
The Red Sox will look to salvage their weekend with a win over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Top pitching prospect Brayan Bello is expected to make his third start for Boston while Toronto will roll with a fellow right-hander in Ross Stripling.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)