Manager John Gibbons likened it to a kick in the teeth. Starting pitcher Joe Biagini said it was an opportunity to improve. Whatever it was, it was ugly. The Toronto Blue Jays lost their fourth game in a row on Sunday, and they did so in embarrassing fashion, falling to the Boston Red Sox 15-1 at Rogers Centre.
The Red Sox (47-35) put up an eight-run seventh inning on their way to a three-game series sweep, extending their lead over the last-place Jays (37-44) to 9
Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. each had a pair of hits in the seventh. In what felt like an endless inning, 12 Boston batters tallied nine hits, prompting the Jays to change pitchers twice.
Mookie Betts collected four of Boston's 21 hits, including his 14th and 15th home runs of the season, in what was a show of force by the Red Sox, who outscored Toronto 22-2 in the second and third games of the series. Betts drove in eight runs as Boston, winner of five of its past six games, moved 12 games above .500.
With the loss, the Blue Jays ended their six-game home stand with a 1-5 record heading into Monday's road series against the New York Yankees. They are 4
"Sometimes this game can knock you pretty good," Gibbons said. "Any time you're struggling, it's always the same mood. Everyone is frustrated. Nobody is happy about it."
Drew Pomeranz, 8-4, tossed six innings to earn the win and allowed one earned run. He struck out three and walked two.
Biagini, likely making his final start before he heads back to the bullpen, was the first Toronto pitcher to be victimized by the Boston offence. He gave up seven runs on 10 hits before getting the hook midway through the sixth inning.
Luckily for the Jays, his soon-to-be replacement, Aaron Sanchez, a key cog in the rotation, made his final rehab start Sunday for the Jays' affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons. Sanchez has been battling a recurring finger injury to his pitching hand that's plagued him most of the season. He has made three trips to the disabled list to get the injury sorted, and he should be back in the lineup before the league breaks for All-Star festivities July 9.
Biagini, who had already thrown 105 pitches by the time he got the hook, was rocked for both of Betts's homers. The Boston right fielder's 14th was a towering three-run shot to centre field in the fourth; his 15th a two-run frozen rope to left field in the sixth.
"Look at that team we played today. They're hot, healthy, swinging well, they're confident, they're hitting everything," Biagini said.
It went from bad to worse for the Blue Jays in the seventh, with right-hander Glenn Sparkman bearing the brunt of the Boston brutality. Sparkman, who joined the Blue Jays on Friday, surrendered seven earned runs on seven hits over one-third of inning in his second appearance with the team.
By the time Kevin Pillar made another impressive and improbable running catch at the warning track to save extra bases and another Boston run in the ninth inning, thousands of the announced 46,696 in attendance had already gone home.