Romero, Blue Jays shut down Red Sox, 3-1

729836.jpg

Romero, Blue Jays shut down Red Sox, 3-1

TORONTO -- For the second straight start this year, Jon Lester was brilliant. And for the second straight start, he was left with nothing to show for his effort.

Lester limited the Toronto Blue Jays to just three runs on three hits over eight innings, but that was two more runs than his teammates could manage off lefty Ricky Romero as the Toronto Blue Jays edged the Red Sox, 3-1.

Romero went 8 13 innings and limited the Sox to just three hits. He walked the first two hitters he faced in the ninth and was lifted for Sergio Santos with the potential tying run in scoring position. But Santos, who blew up in the ninth in the series opener Monday, nailed down the win by getting the two final outs, striking out Kevin Youkilis and getting David Ortiz on a groundout.

Until the Jays tacked on a late run in the bottom of the eighth. Every run in the game came in the third inning. The Red Sox pieced together three singles in the top of the inning with Jacoby Ellsbury snapping a 2-for-21 skid by slicing a single to left, scoring Mike
Aviles from second.

But the Jays quickly countered in the bottom of the inning, using a single by Eric Thames, a wild pitch, a triple from Rajai Davis and a sacrifice fly from Yunel Escobar to score twice.

After Ellsbury's single, Romero, 1-0, retired the next 17 hitters in a row. Lester got on a similar roll, retiring the next 15 Toronto hitters before issuing a two-walk to Davis in
the bottom of the eighth.

Following a stolen base by Davis, Escobar singled to center and the Jays had themselves an insurance run.

Romero came into the game with a career ERA of 7.12 against the Red Sox.

The loss dropped the Red Sox to 1-5, marginally better than their 0-6 mark on the first road trip of last season.

In four of their five losses to date, the Red Sox have scored three runs or fewer and have managed more than four runs only once.

Top prospect Yoan Moncada will join Red Sox on Friday

Top prospect Yoan Moncada will join Red Sox on Friday

BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox have announced they will call up top prospect Yoan Moncada when rosters expand from the current 25-man limit.

Earlier Wednesday, Farrell wouldn't officially confirm the imminent promotion but hinted that the Red Sox appeared ready to call up their top prospect.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the potential of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion is similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. "

Without saying that Moncada's promotion was a definite,  he said "there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''