May 11, 2011: Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 3

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May 11, 2011: Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 3

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

TORONTO -- When John Lackey strung together three quality starts in a row, it was apparently more of a mirage than anything else.

Lackey was shelled for the second straight start Wednesday, pounded for nine runs on 10 hits as the Red Sox were beaten by the Toronto Blue Jays, 9-3, completing a two-game sweep for the home team.

The Sox trailed 4-3 heading into the seventh when the Jays exploded for five runs, putting the game out of reach. All five of the runs came after two were out. Lackey walked three batters in the seventh and all three scored.

In four of his seven starts this year, Lackey has given up six or more runs. The nine runs against him tied a season-high.

The Sox did little offensively against four different Toronto pitchers. Two of their runs came on solo homers for Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz in the sixth.

Carl Crawford (two hits) extended his hitting streak to 11 games, but Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-4) saw his streak snapped at 19 games.

Player of the Game: John McDonald

The Connecticut native and former Providence College standout had a solo homer in the fourth, then put the game away with a two-run double in the seventh when the Jays pounced on John Lackey for five runs.

Curiously, Lackey took a shot at McDonald in his postgame commnents. Told that Terry Francona had noted Lackey had had success against McDonald in the past, Lackey said: "I mean, everybody's had success with him in the past, to be honest. You can't give up hits to him when you have other guys in that lineup who can hurt you.''

Honorable Mention: Rajai Davis

Davis ran the Blue Jays to an extra-inning win Tuesday in the series opener, then followed that up with a four-hit effort Wednesday.

Davis scored twice and and in the fourth, offered an encore of his Tuesday night heroics, stealing both second and third before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Yunel Escobar.

The Goat: John Lackey

Lackey was shelled for nine runs -- five in the seventh inning, when the Sox trailed only by a run.

Six of the nine runs off him were produced by the lower third of the Toronto lineup: rookie David Cooper, McDonald and Davis.

In five starts against Toronto as a member of the Red Sox, Lackey has a 9.40 ERA.

Turning Point: Free passes open floodgates

It was still a game -- Blue Jays leading, 4-3, with two outs in the seventh -- when, with two outs and the bases loaded, John Lackey walked J.P. Arencibia to force in the fifth Toronto run. Then he walked David Cooper, forcing in the sixth run. The back-to-back, two-out, bases-loaded walks opened the door for a five-run Toronto inning that put the game out of reach.

By the Numbers: 4

The Red Sox have played 12 series this year and have been swept in a third of them (four times).

Quote of Note:

"Everything in my life sucks right now, to be honest with you.''

-- John Lackey

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

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Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

David Ortiz offers thoughtful answers and insight in this interview with Sean McAdam touching on his beginning with the Red Sox, the Boston Marathon bombings, showing up on a PED list, his impact in the dugout, and more.

You can also see pieces of the interview on CSN Friday at 6:30pm on a special Arbella Early Edition with Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni.

RELATED Special Video Series - "Big Papi - An Oral History" from CSN

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.