Red Sox end season series against Blue Jays by getting swept in Toronto

The Red Sox were swept by the Blue Jays in their final road series of the season. Boston fell to Toronto, 6-3, at Rogers Centre on Sunday to drop to 75-84 on the year. That includes a final record of 35-46 away from Fenway Park.

After getting shut out in the first two games of this series, The Sox actually jumped out to an early lead in Sunday’s finale. With Kevin Gausman starting for the Jays, J.D. Martinez led off the top half of the second inning with a sharply-hit single. Abraham Almonte followed with a one-out double that put runners at second and third for Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec, who was starting at third base in place of Rafael Devers, came through by drilling a two-run single to center field. Martinez and Almonte both scored to get Boston on the board first.

That lead, however, did not last long, as Michael Wacha ended his first season with the Red Sox on a sour note. The veteran right-hander allowed five earned runs on six hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over just four innings of work.

All four of those Toronto runs were scored from the second through fourth innings. To lead off both the second and third, Wacha served up a pair of solo shots to Teoscar Hernandez and Whit Merrifield, respectively. The Blue Jays took the lead in the fourth. After Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drew a leadoff walk off Wacha, Hernandez went deep yet again to put his side up by two runs at 4-2.

Wacha then gave up a one-out double to Danny Jansen, who scored from second on a two-out double off the bat of Merrifield. The righty was able to strand Merrifield at second by getting former teammate to Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground out to first base.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (48 strikes), Wacha induced just five swings-and-misses. The 31-year-old hurler wound up surrendering 11 runs in his final two starts, bringing his final ERA up to 3.32.

In relief of Wacha, Eduard Bazardo received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora and struck out two of the seven batters he faced across two scoreless frames. The Red Sox then got back to within two runs of the Blue Jays in the seventh when Dalbec crushed a 436-foot homer off reliever Anthony Bass.

Dalbec’s 12th home run of the season had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph and made it a 5-3 game in favor of Toronto. But the Jays answered with another run in their half of the seventh when Merrifield doubled off Kaleb Ort and later scored on a fielder’s choice.

From there, Franklin German put together the first scoreless outing of his major-league career in the bottom of the eighth. The Sox then went down quietly against Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano to seal a 6-3 defeat.

With Sunday’s loss, the Red Sox finish their season series against the Blue Jays having won just three of 19 games. Over the course of those 19 contests, they were outscored, 125-55.

Next up: Back to Boston for the final time this season

The Red Sox will fly back to Boston on Sunday night and open a three-game series against the Rays on Monday to close out their season. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is slated to start for Boston while right-hander Tyler Glasnow is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Red Sox muster just 5 hits in second straight shutout loss to Blue Jays

The Red Sox were shut out by the Blue Jays for the second straight day on Saturday afternoon. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 10-0 at Rogers Centre to drop to 75-83 on the season and 23-49 against divisional opponents.

Brayan Bello wrapped up his rookie season by making his 11th start of the year for the Sox. The right-hander allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Blue Jays first got to Bello for two runs in their half of the second inning. Teoscar Hernandez and Raimel Tapia led off with back-to-back singles before Bello allowed both runners to advance an additional 90 feet on a wild pitch. Danny Jansen then drove in Hernandez on a softly-hit single to left field. Tapia, who moved up to third base on the play, promptly scored on another wild pitch from Bello.

Jansen struck again in the bottom of the third. With two outs and two runners on, Bello yielded a two-run double to the Blue Jays catcher that brought in both Hernandez and Tapia to make it a 4-0 ballgame in favor of Toronto.

Bello ended his day by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. The 23-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 87 (52 strikes) and induced eight swings-and-misses. He was charged with his eighth loss of the season as his ERA rose to 4.71.

In relief of Bello, fellow rookie Zack Kelly received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty served up a pair of solo homers to Hernandez and Jansen before giving up a run-scoring ground-rule double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with two outs in the fifth.

From there, Josh Winckowski — who was just called up from Triple-A Worcester — made the first relief appearance of his big-league career. The 24-year-old got through the sixth and seventh innings unscathed before running into some trouble in the eighth.

Gabriel Moreno and Matt Chapman led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Hernandez then plated Moreno on an RBI double to right field. Tapia followed with a run-scoring hit of his own before Jansen fittingly drove in his side’s 10th and final run on a sacrifice fly to right.

The trio of Hernandez, Tapia, and Jansen combined to go 9-for-15 with eight RBIs and seven runs scored for the Blue Jays. The Red Sox, meanwhile, were held to just five hits — all singles — as a team while going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and leaving six runners on base.

Rafael Devers accounted for two of the four hits the Sox got off Jays starter Ross Stripling, who wound up fanning three across six scoreless frames on Saturday. Four different Toronto relievers preserved the shutout effort by combining for three innings of one-hit ball.

All in all, the Red Sox were outhit, 21-5, in Saturday’s defeat to the Blue Jays. They have been outscored, 19-0, in the first two games of this series and are now 3-15 against Toronto this season with one game between the two teams remaining.

Next up: Wacha vs. Gausman

The Red Sox will wrap up their season series against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon. Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston while fellow righty Kevin Gausman will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 1:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Connor Seabold gets hit hard as Red Sox see 7-game winning streak come to an end in 7-2 loss to Blue Jays

The Red Sox saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end against the Blue Jays on Monday night. Boston went down quietly in a 7-2 loss to Toronto to fall to 42-32 on the season.

With Garrett Whitlock still on the injured list, the Sox recalled Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester to make the second start of his major-league career in Monday’s series opener.

Seabold, who last pitched an inning for the WooSox on Friday, had a tough go of things in his first outing north of the border. The right-hander got rocked for seven earned runs on nine hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

After issuing a leadoff walk to the very first batter he faced in George Springer, Seabold gave up an RBI double to Bo Bichette. He then stranded Bichette at third base and retired the side in order in the second, making it seem as though he was about to settle in.

That was not the case, however, as Seabold served up a 422-foot solo shot to Springer and a 414-foot two-run blast to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the bottom of the third. On the heels of a scoreless fourth inning, he put runners at first and third with one out in the fifth. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in one of those runners on an RBI groundout, then Matt Chapman plated two more on a 362-foot two-run homer to left field.

Chapman would prove to be the last Blue Jay Seabold would face. The 26-year-old was given the hook after throwing 86 pitches (54 strikes). While the results were not all that positive, he did induce 21 total swings-and-misses with his four-seam fastball, changeup, and slider. The 21 whiffs are the most recorded by a Red Sox pitcher in a game this season.

In relief of Seabold, Tyler Danish received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Danish, making his first appearance in six days, retired the only batter he faced to end the fifth inning. From there, Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura each worked a pair of scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh while Hansel Robles did the same in the eighth.

To that point in the contest, the Jarren Duran-less Red Sox lineup had been thoroughly held in check by Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman. It took until the third inning for Boston to get its first hit off Gausman. That happened when Bobby Dalbec reached base via a two-out single. Dalbec then stole second base, but was left there after Rafael Devers grounded out to extinguish the threat.

In the sixth, Devers laced a 90 mph double that deflected off the second-base bag and put a runner in scoring position with one out. Xander Bogaerts then drew a two-out walk, but Alex Verdugo followed by flying out to Springer in center field.

Christian Vazquez made it up to second base with two outs in the seventh. Gausman did not allow him to advance any further than that by fanning the last batter he faced in Dalbec. In three starts against the Red Sox this year, Gausman has allowed one two runs (one earned) over 21 innings. That is good for an ERA of 0.43.

David Phelps kept Toronto’s hopes of a shutout alive in the eighth, but former Red Sox pitching prospect Shaun Anderson did just the opposite in the ninth. Anderson, who was pitching against the team that drafted him for just the second time in his big-league career, made things a bit interesting.

Back-to-back singles from Bogaerts and Verdugo to lead off the inning put runners on the corners for Trevor Story, who scored his side’s first run on a sacrifice fly.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Vazquez single and scored from there on a Dalbec RBI single that deflected off Anderson. Rob Refsnyder then wrapped up a hitless night by flying out to center field to end the game.

All told, the Red Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left eight runners on base as a team. They are now 2-6 against the Blue Jays so far this season.

Next up: Wacha vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will look to bounce back and keep their hopes of a series win alive in the middle game of this three-game set with the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Ross Stripling will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Red Sox muster just 3 hits off Alek Manoah in 1-0 loss to Blue Jays

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)

Xander Bogaerts leads the way with 4 hits as Red Sox snap skid with 7-1 win over Blue Jays

With Alex Cora back in the dugout, the Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak on Wednesday with a much-needed win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Boston defeated Toronto by a final score of 7-1 to snap their skid and improve to 8-11 on the season by doing so.

Matched up against Jays starter Ross Stripling to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox got right to work when Xander Bogaerts reached base via a two-out double in the top of the first inning. Rafael Devers followed with a sharply-hit double of his own that scored Bogaerts and made it a 1-0 game in favor of the visitors.

That sequence provided Michael Wacha with an early one-run cushion and he took advantage of it while making his fourth start of the year for the Sox. Over six quality innings of work, the veteran right-hander allowed just one run on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

The lone run the Blue Jays got off Wacha came in the third inning following a pair of back-to-back leadoff singles from Tyler Heineman and George Springer. Bo Bichette advanced Heineman to third on a fielder’s choice and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove the catcher in on a fielder’s choice that was nearly an inning-ending double play.

Instead, Wacha gave up the tying run at the time. But the righty rebounded by getting through the rest of the third unscathed, stranding a runner in scoring position in the fourth, and retiring each of the final six batters he faced from the fifth through the end of the sixth to end his outing on a high note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (57 strikes), Wacha ultimately improved to 2-0 while lowering his ERA on the season to 1.77. The 30-year-old hurler threw 42 four-seam fastballs, 26 changeups, 11 curveballs, nine cutters, and four sinkers. He induced eight swings and misses with his changeup and averaged 93.6 mph with his heater.

Shortly before his night came to a close, the Red Sox put Wacha in position to earn the win by pushing across two more runs in their half of the sixth. Greeting new Blue Jays reliever Trent Thornton, Bogaerts led of with a single, moved up to third on a Bogaerts single, and scored on an RBI single off the bat of J.D. Martinez. Devers, meanwhile, scored on an Enrique Hernandez sacrifice fly that gave Boston a 3-1 lead.

In relief of Wacha, Jake Diekman got the first call from Cora for the bottom of the seventh and sandwiched a six-pitch walk of Santiago Espinal in between the first two outs of the inning. Hirokazu Sawamura then came on to face George Springer, who ripped a single to center field to put runners on the corners. To his credit, Sawamura escaped the jam by fanning Bichette on a 96.5 mph four-seamer.

Moments after that happened, Martinez led off the top of the eighth with a blistering 106.2 mph double off Julian Merryweather. Hernandez laced a 105.2 mph double of his own to plate Martinez. A well-executed sacrifice bunt from Jackie Bradley Jr. allowed Hernandez to move up to third and Bobby Dalbec brought him in on a sacrifice fly to right field to put the Red Sox up 5-1.

John Schreiber took over for Sawamura in the bottom half of the eighth and impressed in his 2022 debut by sitting down the side in order on 14 pitches.

The ninth inning was all about insurance for the Sox. Bogaerts drove in Trevor Story with his fourth hit of the night and Rob Refsnyder, who was pinch-hitting for Martinez, drove in Alex Verdugo on his first. That made it a 7-1 game going into the bottom of the ninth for Tyler Danish.

Danish, in turn, wrapped things up with a 1-2-3 frame to lock down the commanding, six-run victory.

Some notes from this win:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

Next up: Whitlock vs. Manoah in series finale

The Red Sox will go for a series split with the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon when they send right-hander Garrett Whitlock to the mound for his second career big-league start. Whitlock will be opposed by fellow second-year righty for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Alex Cora returns to Red Sox after missing last 6 games with COVID-19

Alex Cora has rejoined the Red Sox in Toronto and is expected to return to his post as manager for Wednesday’s contest against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, as was first reported by MLB.com’s Ian Browne.

Cora has missed each of Boston’s last six games after testing positive for COVID-19 shortly before the Sox’ series finale with the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on April 21.

The 46-year-old, who is fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, had already been staying in a hotel upon testing positive after one of his four-year-old twin boys contracted the virus two weeks ago and remained isolated there while experiencing mild symptoms.

In Cora’s place, bench coach Will Venable took over as Boston’s acting manager for the second time in as many seasons and led the club to a 1-5 record to drop the Red Sox to 7-11 on the season.

While losing five of their last six and four straight overall to American League East opponents, the Sox are averaging fewer than three runs per game and have been outscored 26-17 during this rough stretch.

With Cora back in the dugout, though, perhaps the Red Sox’ fortunes will change for the better. They have two more games remaining in Toronto before concluding this lengthy road trip with a three-game weekend series in Baltimore.

As Cora makes his return on Wednesday, it will be right-hander Michael Wacha getting the start for the Sox opposite fellow righty Ross Stripling for the Jays in the third game of this four-game series.. First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow late lead, get walked off on by Blue Jays in extra innings four fourth straight loss

The Red Sox continue to find ways to lose games in heartbreaking fashion, with Tuesday’s walk-off loss to the Blue Jays marking their fourth consecutive defeat and their sixth in the last seven games.

Boston fell to Toronto in 10 innings by a final score of 6-5 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-11 on the season. They are now 1-4 halfway through their 10-game, three-city road trip.

Nick Pivetta, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, allowed two runs on three hits and four walks to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

It was a grind for Pivetta, who breezed through his first two innings but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third when he issued a leadoff walk to Santiago Espinal. Espinal and Gosuke Katoh effectively switched places when the latter grounded into a force out at second base, but he advanced into scoring position himself on a wild pitch.

Another walk of Bradley Zimmer put runners at first and second for the Jays with one out. Christian Vazquez gunned down Zimmer as he unsuccessfully attempted to steal second base but Katoh moved up to third on the play as well. He then scored on an RBI single off the bat of George Springer, who was just getting his productive night at the plate started.

Despite falling behind by a run early on, the Sox lineup quickly responded in their half of the fourth when Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a hard-hit single off opposing starter Kevin Gausman. Bogaerts successfully stole second base on a J.D. Martinez strikeout and advanced to third on a Zack Collins throwing error. Enrique Hernandez drove him in on a sacrifice fly to knot things up at 1-1.

Pivetta, however, struggled with his command yet again in the latter half of the frame. The Canadian-born right-hander issued another leadoff walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that was followed by a line-drive single from Collins. Guerrero Jr. scored from second on an Espinal RBI single, but Collins was left on base as Pivetta managed to limit the damage to just the one run.

After working hard in both the third and fourth innings, Pivetta recorded the first two outs of the fifth before walking Bo Bichette on seven pitches. Bichette would be the final batter Pivetta faced. The 29-year-old hurler wound up finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (60 strikes) while throwing 52 four-seam fastballs, 28 knuckle curveballs, and 18 sliders. He induced seven swings-and-misses and averaged 93.8 mph with his heater.

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen. Sawamura stranded the lone runner he inherited in Bichette by getting Guerrero Jr. to ground out.

From there, Austin Davis tossed a scoreless sixth inning and got the first two outs of the seventh before making way for Ryan Brasier, who — like Sawamura — inherited one runner but left him on base by getting Springer to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

To that point in the contest, the Sox had not been able to get much of anything going against Gausman or the first reliever out of the Blue Jays bullpen in Trevor Richards.

Boston’s fortunes changed in their half of the eighth, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers came off the bench to pinch-hit for Christian Arroyo and immediately greeted Yimi Garcia by ripping a leadoff single off of him. Another single for Vazquez put runners at first and second for Trevor Story, who came through with a clutch, 111.8 mph RBI double that scored Devers and made it a 2-2 game.

That stalemate did not last long, though, as Alex Verdugo kept the rally going with a sacrifice fly that brought in Vazquez and Bogaerts followed with a run-scoring double of his own that pushed across Story. Hernandez then drove in Bogaerts on an RBI single that gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead just like that.

With a three-run lead to protect all of the sudden, Hansel Robles was dispatched for the eighth inning and worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

The Sox had an opportunity to add on to their lead in the ninth but could not take advantage of the two walks issued by Ryan Borucki. In the bottom half of the inning, it was Jake Diekman who was in for the save.

Diekman immediately yielded back-to-back doubles to Tapia and Espinal, cutting Boston’s lead down to two runs and putting the tying run (Espinal) in scoring position. The veteran lefty punched out the pinch-hitting Lourdes Gurriel and Zimmer in back-to-back fashion, meaning he was just one out away from closing things out.

Instead of picking up the save, however, Diekman grooved a 2-1, 96 mph fastball down the heart of the plate to Springer, who took it and deposited it 423 feet to center field for the game-tying home run.

Springer’s clutch homer pulled the Blue Jays back even with the Red Sox at 5-5. Matt Barnes got the final out of the ninth and — after his side squandered another scoring opportunity — came back out for the last of the 10th.

Barnes and Co. elected to intentionally walk Guerrero Jr. in hopes of turning a double play. That strategy did not pay off, though, as Barnes walked Alejandro Kirk on seven pitches to load the bases with no outs.

A strikeout of Matt Chapman is how Barnes’ night ended with left-hander Matt Strahm being called upon to face the left-handed hitting Tapia, who proceeded to lace a 298-foot sacrifice fly to left field. Bichette easily scored from third to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-5 walk-off victory in extras.

Next up: Wacha vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Ross Stripling for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Bo Bichette and Christian Vazquez: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ offensive woes continue as Bo Bichette’s go-ahead grand slam lifts Blue Jays to 6-2 win

The Red Sox’ offensive struggles continued on Monday as they opened their four-game series against the Blue Jays with yet another loss. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-2 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-10 on the season.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, was extremely effective and did not factor into Monday’s decision. The veteran right-hander allowed just two earned run on five hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over seven economic innings of work.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered to Toronto came by way of the long ball. After tossing four scoreless frames to start his day, the righty served up a 380-foot solo shot to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

In his seventh and final inning, Eovaldi yielded another solo homer to Matt Chapman. This one left Chapman’s bat at 107.2 mph, traveled 422 feet to left-center field, and gave the Jays a 2-0 lead.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 72 (56 strikes), Eovaldi induced a total of 10 swings-and-misses while throwing 29 four-seam fastballs, 22 curveballs, 12 sliders, six splitters, and three cutters. The hard-throwing 32-year-old also topped out at 98.8 mph with his heater.

Shortly after Eovaldi’s night had ended, a Trevor Story-lessRed Sox lineup finally got something going against his counterpart in Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios. Up until the eighth inning, Boston had been held in check by Berrios despite having a few scoring opportunities.

Earlier in the second inning, J.D. Martinez made his presence felt after a four-game absence by ripping a one-out double to center field. A four-pitch walk drawn by Jackie Bradley Jr. and line-drive single from Bobby Dalbec then loaded the bases for Christian Arroyo.

Arroyo, however, was unable to come through with a pair of runners in scoring position as he grounded into a back-breaking, 1-2-3 double play that extinguished the threat.

In the top of the fourth, Xander Bogaerts led off with a hard-hit single of his own and moved up to second on a Rafael Devers groundout. But he left on base after Martinez and Bradley Jr. both flew out themselves.

An inning later, Blue Jays center fielder George Springer robbed Kevin Plawecki of a two-out extra-base hit when he sprawled out and made a sensational diving catch on a 101.7 mph liner off the bat of the Red Sox catcher.

Fast forward all the way to the eighth, and the Sox ultimately chased Berrios on back-to-back singles from Dalbec and Arroyo to lead off the inning. With Adam Cimber now on the mound for Toronto, Plawecki advanced both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt.

With the lineup turning back over, Enrique Hernandez broke the seal with an RBI single to left field that brought in Dalbec. Alex Verdugo followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Arroyo and knotted things up at two runs apiece.

That 2-2 tie did not last long, though. With Eovaldi done after seven, Matt Strahm got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable in the middle of the eighth.

Strahm got the first out of the frame but issued a one-out single to Raynel Espinal. Bradley Zimmer then dropped a drag bunt down the first base line that Strahm fielded cleanly and flipped to Dalbec covering first base. Dalbec could not squeeze the ball into his glove, though, and that allowed both runners to reach base safely.

That sequence prompted Venable to give Strahm the hook in favor of Tyler Danish, who gave up a single to Springer that loaded the bases for Bichette. Bichette, in turn, crushed a 1-0, 92 mph sinker from Danish and sent it 344 feet over the right field wall for the go-ahead grand slam.

Bichette’s slam gave the Blue Jays a commanding 6-2 lead heading into the ninth. Devers doubled to lead off the inning but was stranded there as Martinez, Bradley Jr., and Dalbec went down in order to Julian Merryweather to seal the defeat.

Some notes from this loss:

Nathan Eovaldi gave up 15 home runs in 182 2/3 innings last season. He has already given up seven home runs in just 21 2/3 innings this season.

The Red Sox went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left five runners on base as a team.

At 7-10, Boston has now lost five of its last six games. They are averaging less than 2.2 runs per game and have been outscored 26-13 during this rough stretch.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Gausman

It does not get any easier for the Red Sox as they will go up against Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman on Tuesday night. Boston will counter with Canadian-born righty Nick Pivetta.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bo Bichette: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to start for Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against Blue Jays

Garrett Whitlock will start for the Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the team announced earlier Monday evening.

The Sox are without one of their starters for this four-game set in Toronto after placing Tanner Houck on the restricted list due to his unvaccinated status. Houck was in line to start on Thursday, but is not eligible to travel to Canada on account of the country’s rules for entry.

Because of this, a spot in Boston’s rotation opened up and it unsurprisingly goes to Whitlock, who will follow Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Michael Wacha by taking the mound on Thursday.

Whitlock was absolutely dominant in the first start of his big-league career against the Rays on Saturday. Working on three days rest, the right-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts across four scoreless innings at Tropicana Field. 33 of the 48 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Although the Red Sox have primarily used Whitlock as a reliever since acquiring him from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, it is quite apparent that the club views the 25-year-old hurler as a starter in the long-term.

The four-year, $18.75 million contract extension Whitlock signed with Boston earlier this month includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches in the future. It can also max out at $44.5 million over six years beginning in 2023.

Including Saturday’s start, Whitlock has posted a miniscule 0.66 ERA and 1.84 FIP with 18 strikeouts to two walks through his first five appearances (13 2/3 innings pitched) of the season. Last year, the righty made one appearance in Toronto on August 7 and struck out three over two scoreless frames of relief.

Considering that he will be pitching on a conventional four days rest come Thursday afternoon, it should be interesting to see how deep the Red Sox allow Whitlock to pitch into the game if he is as effective as he was over the weekend.

On the other side of things, Alek Manoah — who also made his major-league debut last season — is slated to oppose Whitlock and make his fourth start of 2022 for the Blue Jays.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Tanner Houck says he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he will not be eligible to pitch in Toronto

Red Sox starter Tanner Houck revealed to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams on Sunday that he is not yet vaccinated against COVID-19. As a result, the right-hander will not be eligible to pitch against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The Red Sox will visit Rogers Centre for the first time this season later this month. Houck was in line to start the second of that four-game series on April 26, but will instead miss it due to his vaccination status.

“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck told McWilliams earlier Sunday morning. “So, that’s all I really got to say on it.”

Any individual traveling to Canada must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Canadian government defines this individual as someone who has received at least two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Travelers must have received the second dose of Moderna/Pfizer or first dose of Johnson and Johnson at least 14 calendar days prior to entering the country.

For the Red Sox, these guidelines apply to their series against the Blue Jays in Toronto from April 25-28, June 27-June 29, and September 30 through October 2.

Besides Houck, it is already known that fellow Boston starter Chris Sale is not vaccinated against the virus. The left-hander is currently on the 60-day injured list as he continues to recover from a stress fracture in his right rib cage, so he was not going to be able to pitch in next week’s series north of the border anyway.

Still, unless either pitcher gets vaccinated or the Canadian government changes its rules, Houck and Sale will not be eligible to travel to or play in Toronto this season.

In Houck’s case, the 25-year-old hurler will be placed on the restricted list during the Sox’ series in Toronto. While away from the team, Houck will be placed on the restricted list and will not receive any pay or service time for the games he misses.

The Red Sox will, however, have the ability to replace Houck on the active roster while he is on the restricted list. Although the club has yet to announce who will take Houck’s turn in the starting rotation on April 26, it would not be surprising if that responsibility fell to Garrett Whitlock, who pitched in relief of Houck on Saturday.

“We knew it beforehand,” Sox manager Alex Cora said following Sunday’s 8-1 win over the Twins. “So, we’ll plan accordingly.”

As noted by McWilliams, Cora also indicated that Houck will not be the only player Boston places on the restricted list for their trip to Toronto. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “the identities of the others are unknown.”

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)