Red Sox drop series finale with Blue Jays, 4-3

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Red Sox drop series finale with Blue Jays, 4-3

BOSTON The Red Sox halted several disappointing trends Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. But, it was not enough as they couldnt stop their most disturbing one: losing. They fell 4-3, in the series finale.

It was the Sox fourth straight loss and third time being swept in their last four series. They have lost 11 times in their last 12 games, and 27 of their last 37 since Aug. 1.

Clay Buchholz pitched admirably but took the loss. His record fell to 11-6 with a 4.46 ERA. He went 8 23 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks (one intentional) with four strikeouts. He threw 121 pitches, 82 strikes.

Buchholz, in pitching nearly a complete game, disrupted at least one concerning trend: In the previous 11 games Red Sox starting pitchers had averaged just over 4 23 innings. But Buccholzs effort wasnt enough to prevent yet another loss.

With the score tied in the ninth inning and runners on first and thread, Buchholz faced Omar Vizquel in what is very likely the last at-bat at Fenway for Vizquel who is retiring after the season. Vizquel, who entered the game with just three RBI this season, recorded his fourth earlier in the game. His sacrifice fly to left field in the ninth off Buchholz gave the Jays the 4-3 lead.

The Sox, who out-hit the Jays, scored their runs on home runs by Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia. Ellsburys two-run homer in the second was just the third time the Sox have scored first in a game in their last 14 games.

For Ellsbury, batting in the sixth spot for the first time since 2009, it was his third home run of the season and first since Aug. 27. Cody Ross, who walked, scored on the blast.

The Jays took the lead in the fourth. After striking out Adam Lind to open the inning, Buchholz gave up consecutive singles to Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, and Jeff Mathis for one run. Omar Vizqeuls sacrifice fly drove in the second run. The Jays went ahead when Adeiny Hechavarria singled to left before being thrown out at second to end the inning.

The Sox tied the game when Dustin Pedroia led off the sixth with a solo home run into the back row of Monster seats in left field. It was his 14th home run of the season.

Carlos Villanueva started for the Jays, going six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, including two home runs, and two walks with two strikeouts.

Brandon Lyon earned the win for the Jays, while Casey Janssen got the save.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”