Red Sox stumble late in loss to Blue Jays, 5-0

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Red Sox stumble late in loss to Blue Jays, 5-0

TORONTO -- For seven innings, Jon Lester was in the middle of pitching perhaps his best start of the season, limiting the Toronto Blue Jays to one hit and a walk.

Then, like the Red Sox' season itself, it all imploded. Omar Vizquel supplied a run-scoring single and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria drove a two-run homer to left, sending the Blue Jays
to a 5-0 shutout of the Red Sox.

The Jays' win snapped Boston's modest two-game losing streak and denied the Sox a chance for their first three-game since the last three days of July.

Boston mustered seven hits, but was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. On three occasions, the Sox had two runners on base and just one out but couldn't come up with the big hit.

The defeat dropped them back into the cellar of the American League East, a game behind the fourth-place Jays.

With Lester gone from the game, the Blue Jays tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth off the Red Sox bullpen, with both runs charged to Daniel Bard. Bard was making his first appearance at Rogers Centre since his disastrous June 3 start that resulted in his
three-month demotion to the minor leagues.

Lester fell to 9-12. Until this season, he had never had a year in which he reached double-figures in losses.

Toronto starter Brandon Morrow blanked the Sox for the first six innings. Four relievers combined to handle the final three innings, handing the Sox their sixth shutout of the season.

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Chris Sale threw five shutout innings and Pablo Sandoval continued his torrid spring with two more hits as the Red Sox routed the Twins, 7-2, Sunday at the Twins' Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Twins box score

Sale allowed six hits, with one walk and six strikeouts, in his 91-pitch outing. Manager John Farrell had told reporters before the game that Sale was scheduled to throw between 95 and 100 pitches. He has 26 strikeouts and 2 walks in 21 spring-training innings.

Sandoval lifted his exhibition average to .370 with a 2-for-3 performance, which included a double.

The Red Sox also got home runs from Christian Vazquez, Andrew Benintendi and Steve Selsky as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the seventh inning and four in the eighth.

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.