BOSTON – A day after clinching the American League East title, the Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays, the division cellar-dwellers, 4-2, at Fenway Park Saturday night.
Perhaps it was a little lethargy left-over from their late-night celebration on Friday. Or perhaps it was the new-look lineup they used.
Clay Buchholz took his first loss of the season, falling to 11-1. He went six innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches, 64 for strikes, while his ERA rose from 1.51 to 1.60.
The Blue Jays scored all their runs off Buchholz with two outs in the fourth inning, sending seven batters to the plate. Jose Reyes led off with a single to right. But with Munenori Kawasaki batting, Reyes was thrown out trying to steal, one of three would-be base stealers catcher David Ross cut down in the game. After Kawasaki lined out to second baseman John McDonald, Buchholz gave up four straight hits – a single to Brett Lawrie, a double to Adam Lind, and singles to Moises Sierra and Rajai Davis. With Anthony Gose batting, Buchholz’s own error on an errant pick-off attempt at first base allowed Sierra to score.
Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle – who entered the game allowing a career .296 batting average to Sox hitters -- limited the Sox to one run over six innings on five hits, with no walks, a hit batter, and five strikeouts. Buehrle earned the win, improving to 12-9 with a 4.09 ERA.
The Sox got a run off Buehrle in the sixth when Stephen Drew singled and went to second when Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch, extending his AL lead to 18 times getting hit with a pitch. Johnny Gomes’ single to left scored Drew, cutting the Sox deficit, 3-1.
The Sox added another run in the seventh off Dustin McGowan when Xander Bogaerts reached on a two-base error by third baseman Brett Lawrie, advancing to third on a wild pitch. Ross groundout to Reyes at shortstop scored Bogaerts.
After left-hander Drake Britton pitched a scoreless seventh, Ryan Dempster entered for the eighth inning. It was Dempster’s first relief appearance since 2007, when he recorded 28 saves in 66 games for the Cubs. Dempster, who is expected to pitch out of the pen for the remainder of the season, pitching a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk with one strikeout.
Matt Thornton entered for the ninth. After walking Rajai Davis to open the inning, Anthony Gose’s sacrifice bunt moved Gose to second. J.P Arencibia, who had been 0-for-27 lined a single off the Wall in left-center, scoring Davis. After retiring Ryan Goins on a comebacker, Thornton walked Jose Reyes, ending Thornton’s outing with Rubby De La Rosa entering to face pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa who grounded out to end the inning.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: Mark Buehrle
Buehrle went six innings, giving up one run on five hits with no walks, five strikeouts, and a hit batter. It was the third time this season Buehrle has held the Sox to one run over six or more innigns. He had a 3.31 ERA against the Sox this season, giving up 12 earned runs in 32 2/3 innings.
HONORABLE MENTION: David Ross
Ross went 1-for-3 with an RBI. He threw out all three would-be base stealers. It was the first time he has thrown out three attempted base stealers in a game and the first time a Sox catcher has thrown out as many as three in a game since Scott Hatteburg threw out three on April 30, 1998, against the Angels.
THE GOAT: Clay Buchholz
Buchholz gave up three runs, including one unearned run on his own error. He took the loss, his first of the season.
THE TURNING POINT
With three runs in the fourth, the Jays had enough runs for Buehlre to hold off the Red Sox.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Sox lost for just the fifth time in their last 17 games. All five losses were by two or fewer runs.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“When you’re hitting .200 you better bring something to the team. It’s nice to throw out three guys. I don’t know if I’ve done that in my career but there’s a lot of credit that’s not due me. Stephen [Drew] picked two balls that were short. He put a good quick tag down and those guys gave me good looks at times to the plate so I could get rid of that thing. It’s never an individual effort. It’s always a team effort. You guys know that.” – David Ross, on throwing out three would-be base stealers in the game.