Red Sox rock Blue Jays pitching, 16-4

191542.jpg

Red Sox rock Blue Jays pitching, 16-4

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- Before Saturday's game, manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff were worried about the team's energy level, fearing that the real impact of the team's early morning travel would come a day later.

By the end of the afternoon, the only thing tiring for the Red Sox was circling the bases.

The Sox busted out with 18 hits and every member of the starting lineup collected at least one RBI in a 16-4 thumping of the Toronto Blue Jays, good for Boston's eighth consecutive win, a season best.

Three times, the Sox scored multiple runs in an inning, plating four in the third, seven in the fifth as both David Ortiz and Jason Varitek cranked three-run homers in that inning, and three more in the eighth.

The 16 runs marked a season high for the Red Sox. Six different players had multi-hit games, led by Marco Scutaro who had four.

The game marked the fifth time in the last 21 games -- and fourth time in the last 10 road games -- that the Sox reached double figures in a game.

John Lackey, pitching at Rogers Centre for the first time since his famous post-game meltdown exactly a month ago, picked up his second straight win, allowing four runs
over six innings.

STAR OF THE GAME: Jason Varitek
After a brutal start at the plate in the first month, Varitek has come around. Saturday, he was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, two runs scored and a total of four RBI.

The Red Sox catcher went almost a full calendar year without a homer, but has hit three since May 24.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia
The Red Sox predicted that Pedroia would return from the exam and scope of his ailing right knee with peace of mind -- and he has.

In the two games since, he's 6-for-10 with two walks and helping to spark the offense by getting on base at the top of the lineup.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Brandon Morrow
Morrow has great stuff, but he didn't show much of it Saturday, getting rocked for nine runs on 10 hits in just 4 13 innings.

Morrow's poor outing forced John Farrell to empty his bullpen, using five relievers and infielder Mike McCoy to close out the rout.

TURNING POINT: Varitek's three-run homer in the fifth turned a comfortable 5-2 lead into an 8-2 laugher -- and the rout was on.

BY THE NUMBERS: In their five wins against the Blue Jays this season, the Red Sox have outscored Toronto 42-7.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "That's the whole idea -- you don't want to give anybody any easy innings.'' Terry Francona on the entire lineup coming together of late.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

MORE: 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs top Raiders 21-13, take AFC West lead

raiders_chiefs_derek_carr_120816.jpg

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs top Raiders 21-13, take AFC West lead

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

Click here for the complete story