Not even an hour-long rain delay could prevent the Red Sox from getting throttled by the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. After rainy conditions moved first pitch from 7:10 to 8:10 p.m., Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 9-3 at Fenway Park.
Despite what that final score may indicate, it was actually the Red Sox who jumped out to an early lead. While matched up against Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling, Christian Arroyo led off the bottom of the second inning with a sharply-hit double. Enrique Hernandez followed by lacing a hard-hit single back up the middle to drive in Arroyo and make it a 1-0 game through two.
To that point, Josh Winckowski had managed to strand a pair of base runners in scoring position while retiring six of the first Blue Jays he faced over two scoreless frames.
Winckowski, who was starting in place of the injured Nathan Eovaldi, also recorded the first two outs of the third after giving up a leadoff double to Jackie Bradley Jr. It was there when the wheels began to fall off for the rookie right-hander.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tied things up at one by plating Bradley Jr. on a 340-foot double to the gap in right-center field. Alejandro Kirk drew a four-pitch walk to put runners at first and second for Teoscar Hernandez, who drove in Gurriel Jr. with a single. Another base hit from Bo Bichette filled the bases for Matt Chapman, who drew a six-pitch walk to walk Kirk.
Winckowski was then pulled in favor of Austin Davis, but the Blue Jays were not done there. Cavan Biggio greeted the left-hander by scoring two on a single to center field. Bradley Jr. drew another free pass to fill the bases for George Springer, who roped a 267-foot line drive to the opposite field that Rob Refsnyder sold out for.
Refsnyder could not make the diving catch, however, and Springer’s screamer rolled past him, allowing all three of Chapman, Biggio, and Bradley Jr. to score. Springer’s three-run triple gave Toronto a commanding 8-1 lead. Six of those runs were charged to Winckowski; the other two were charged to Davis.
Of the 61 pitches Winckowski threw on Tuesday, 34 went for strikes. The 24-year-old hurler gave up six hits, two walks, and struck out two over 2 2/3 dismal innings. He only managed to induce six swings-and-misses in the process of raising his ERA on the season to 5.83.
Davis, meanwhile, was thrust into mop-up duty. And while the lefty ended things in the third and did not allow another run to score over the next two innings, he did raise his ERA on the season to 5.33. That includes an ERA of 8.68 over his last 24 outings dating back to June 17.
Jeurys Familia took over for Davis in the sixth and struck out two in a perfect frame. Hirokazu Sawamura, on the other hand, surrendered an RBI single to Bradley Jr. in the seventh before getting Springer to ground into an inning-ending double play.
In the latter half of the seventh, the Red Sox got on the board for the first time since the second inning. After being held in check by Stripling, who scattered six hits across six one-run frames, Boston took advantage of Yusei Kikuchi’s inability to command the strike zone.
Franchy Cordero and Kevin Plawecki drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. After Refsnyder punched out, Cordero proceeded to score from second when Alex Verdugo grounded into a force out at second base. The Blue Jays nearly turned a double play, but Biggio made a poor throw over to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base, which allowed Cordero to score the Sox’ second run of the night.
Following a scoreless eighth inning from Ryan Brasier, Reese McGuire made his professional pitching debut in the top of the ninth. Traditionally a catcher, McGuire worked between 53-72 mph and needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order.
Down to their final three outs in the bottom of the ninth, Plawecki and Refsnyder led off with back-to-back singles. Rafael Devers plated Plawecki with a two-out single through the right side of the infield. That brought McGuire to the plate, and he popped out to left field to end it.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 60-64 on the season. They also dropped to 3-11 against the Blue Jays and now trail the Mariners by 6 1/2 games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.
Bogaerts, Pham exit due to back spasms
In the process of getting trounced by the Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Red Sox lost a pair of starters — Xander Bogaerts and Tommy Pham — to back spasms.
Pham left in the third inning after attempting to field Bradley Jr.’s leadoff double off the Green Monster. This is the third time in the last five days he has left a game early due to back issues. He was replaced in left field by Verdugo and is currently day-to-day.
Bogaerts came out of the game in the top of the seventh inning and was replaced at shortstop by Hernandez. He, too, is day-to-day.
Next up: Bello returns?
The Red Sox have yet to announce who will start the middle game of this three-game series on Wednesday, though right-hander Brayan Bello appears to be the top candidate. Fellow righty Jose Berrios will start for the Blue Jays.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)