The Red Sox had an opportunity to salvage a series split against the Blue Jays but, much like their lineup, were unable to take advantage of it. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 1-0 at Rogers Centre to lose the four-game series and drop to 8-12 on the season.
Garrett Whitlock, making his second start and sixth overall appearance of the year for the Sox, was not as sharp as he was in his last time out but was still effective nonetheless. The right-hander allowed just one unearned run on four hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over three innings of work.
The lone run the Jays scored off Whitlock came as a result of a Christian Arroyo fielding error in the bottom of the third inning. Lourdes Gurriel reached base on Arroyo’s miscue, advanced to second base on a walk drawn by Raimel Tapia, and scored from second on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Alejandro Kirk.
Kirk’s run-scoring base hit gave Toronto an early 1-0 lead and was the precursor to Whitlock’s day ending once he recorded the final out of the third. Of the 61 pitches the 25-year-old hurler threw on Thursday, 41 went for strikes. He threw 37 sinkers, 17 sliders, and seven changeups.
In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen in the middle of the fourth. The left-hander notched the first two outs of the frame and issued one walk before making way for John Schreiber, who ended things in the fourth while also working his way around a two-out double in an otherwise clean fifth inning.
Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes followed with a scoreless frame each in the sixth and seventh, while Hansel Robles sat down the side in order in the eighth.
To that point in the contest, a Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez-less Red Sox lineup had already squandered multiple scoring chances against Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah.
It took until the fifth inning for a Boston batter to get into scoring position when Arroyo reached base via a one-out single and immediately stole second. He was, however, stranded there after Bobby Dalbec and Travis Shaw both struck out swinging to extinguish the threat.
Fast forward to the seventh, and Enrique Hernandez led the inning off with his eighth double of the season. With Manoah seemingly on the ropes, Bradley Jr. advanced Hernandez to third on a softly-hit groundout, but neither Arroyo nor Dalbec could drive him in.
Down to their final three outs in the ninth with Jordan Romano on the mound for Toronto, Alex Verdugo grounded out to second, and Rafael Devers laced a 100.3 mph single back up the middle to put the tying run on base for Hernandez, who hit the ball hard himself but right into Gurriel’s glove in right field. Bradley Jr., on the other hand, struck out on four pitches to seal the 1-0 defeat for Boston.
All told, Red Sox hitters went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base as a team en route to losing three out of four to the Blue Jays north of the border.
Next up: On to Baltimore
The Red Sox will now conclude their lengthy road trip with a three-game weekend series in Baltimore that begins on Friday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston in the opener and will be piggybacked by Tanner Houck. The Orioles have yet to announce who will be starting for them opposite Hill.
Regardless, first pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Alek Manoah: Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)