Game story: Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1


Game story: Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 1

By Art Martone

BOSTON -- You could call it a 180-degree turnaround . . . but that might be understating it.

One start after he (almost literally) couldn't get anyone out against the Rays, Daisuke Matsuzaka was virtually untouchable Monday against the Blue Jays. The veteran right-hander pitched seven innings and allowed only two baserunners -- one on a first-inning single by Jose Bautista, the other on a second-inning walk to Travis Snider -- in leading the Red Sox to a homestanding-closing 9-1 rout of Toronto.

Dice-K retired the last 16 batters he faced in posting his first victory of the season.

Jed Lowrie continued his scalding start by going 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI, and lifted his average back over .500 (to .516). Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury also homered for the Red Sox, who got at least one hit from every starter except Jason Varitek.

Boston took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out, two-run single by Lowrie, increased it to 3-0 in the third on David Ortiz' RBI single, and the rout was on. Lowrie's two-run homer in the fifth made it 5-0, Youkilis' two-run homer in the sixth made it 7-0, and the Sox added additional runs in the sixth (RBI double by Carl Crawford) and seventh (homer by Ellsbury).

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Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.