April 18, 2016

G12: Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 3

Blue Jays - 000 000 040 - 4  8  0
Red Sox   - 010 000 002 - 3  7  1
Clay Buchholz (6.2-6-0-2-2, 97) was stellar, a superb outing that should not be forgotten amid the game's wild narrative after he left. Although Buchholz allowed at least one baserunner in each of his seven innings, he was helped out by four of five double plays turned by the Red Sox. Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel were both ineffective in a nightmarish eighth inning that saw only two Toronto singles; the Jays took advantage of a throwing error, three walks, a passed ball, and a HBP. The two relievers, usually so reliable, needed 48 pitches as the Jays sent nine men to the plate.

Still, the Red Sox nearly pulled the game out of the fire. In the bottom of the ninth, they battled back enough to bring David Ortiz out of the dugout as a pinch-hitter with a chance to tie or win the game. Boston was down by one and had a man on first with two outs. Big Papi fouled off a couple of pitches, and worked a 2-2 count, before being called out on a nasty letter-high pitch that was clearly in the strike zone. And so Boston fell to 6-6.

The Red Sox took an early lead when Hanley Ramirez sliced a ground-rule double into the right field corner. One out later, he scored on Josh Rutledge's double to right-center.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays kept putting men on against Buchholz, but he worked out of trouble. Boston turned double plays in the first, second, fourth, and sixth innings while Buchholz was on the hill. (A fifth DP came in the ninth.) Joese Bautista grounded into three of the five double plays.

Uehara began the eighth with a slim 1-0 lead. He was in trouble right away. Kevin Pillar (3-for-3) grounded a ball down the third base line. Rutledge fielded the ball and tossed a high, arching throw towards first. Ramirez leapt for it in foul territory, but it glanced off his glove and went into the camera pit. Uehara then walked pinch-hitter Justin Smoak and the runners moved up on a passed ball charged to Christian Vazquez. Michael Saunders grounded out to shortstop and Pillar scored the tying run. Koji had trouble keeping his split-fingered fastball low in the zone; in fact, he threw one that plunked Josh Donaldson in the left shoulder. Uehara ended up relying more on his fastball, and was ineffective.

After Uehara hit Donaldson, manager John Farrell probably should have gone to Craig Kimbrel. But he allowed Uehara to face Jose Bautista, who battled for eight pitches and walked, loading the bases. Now it was Kimbrel's chance. He had recorded 12 strikeouts in six innings this season - and he needed a punchout now. He looked fantastic, fanning Edwin Encarnacion on three pitches, the final one at 99. Two outs. Then Kimbrel's control deserted him. He was missing both high and inside and he walked Troy Tulowitzki on a full-count pitch to force in the go-ahead run. Russell Martin saw nine pitches and went to the opposite field with the last one, dropping it into short right-center for a two-run single, giving the Jays a 4-1 lead. Kimbrel rebounded to strike out Ryan Goins.

Chris Young (1-for-14 this season) opened the home half of the eighth with a double off the Wall. Brett Cecil relieved J.A. Happ and showed impeccable control, pinpointing his pitches and giving the bottom of the Red Sox order no chance to bring Young around. Rutledge looked at four pitches, the last three being called strikes. Vazquez grounded to shortstop and Jackie Bradley flied out to center, with Pillar making a diving catch in right-center.

Facing Drew Storen in the bottom of the ninth, Mookie Betts lined to center. Dustin Pedroia grounded a single to right, but Xander Bogaerts popped to center for the second out. Travis Shaw drilled a double off the Wall in left-center, scoring Pedroia. Hanley Ramirez followed with a single up the middle that brought in Shaw. Now it was 4-3, and the potential winning run was walking to the plate. Ortiz.

He took a ball, then tried and failed to check his swing on a pitch down and away. He fouled the 1-1 pitch at the plate. He took a ball in the dirt and sliced another foul. Storen's 2-2 pitch was at the letters, but was also at the top of the zone. Ortiz took the pitch and was run up, ending the game.

Pedroia's ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 10 games. It was also the 27th straight game in which he has reached base against Toronto and the 47th consecutive game in which he has reached against an AL East team. ... Today was the first time the Red Sox had faced a left-handed starter this season. ... It was only the Red Sox fifth loss in their last 16 Patriots Day games.
J.A. Happ / Clay Buchholz
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Shaw, 1B
Ramirez, DH
Young, LF
Rutledge, 3B
Vazquez, C
Bradley, CF
It's Patriots Day in David Ortiz's fuckin' city!

Clay Buchholz has been disappointing in his two starts this season, giving up five runs in both outings.

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