Momentum has left the building for these Red Sox.
With its 12-4 loss to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox have now lost eight of their last 10 games while heading into a nine-game road trip standing at 22-16. They hit the road having turned in a 2-5 homestand.
Since the beginning of their series against the Rangers (May 3), the Red Sox have been outscored 62-33.
This time, both a lack of hitting (primarily against rookie starter Chad Jenkins) and pitching (with starting pitcher Ryan Dempster serving as the chief culprit) did in the Red Sox.
The outing was by far the worst of Dempster’s young Red Sox career, with the righty suffering his first loss ever against a team from his native Canada (6-1). He watched his ERA go from 2.93 to 3.75 after allowing six runs on seven hits over five innings. After escaping the first without giving up a run, Dempster would lead the Sox down a path in which they surrendered at least one run in each of the next five frames.
“I was missing up a lot today — more than I normally do, for whatever reason,” Dempster said. “I couldn’t really pinpoint it. I tried to get the ball back downhill to be consistent. It would be good for a few hitters and then I’d get the ball up. I just tried to work hard, but I just wasn’t good enough today.”
Offensively, the Sox could do nothing with Jenkins, the 20th overall pick in the 2009 draft. In five-plus innings, the hurler gave up just two runs on seven hits. John Farrell‘s club finished the day going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and now is 13-for-79 in such situations since May 3.
“I think we have a number of guys dealing with some frustration right now,” said Farrell. “There’s no question about it. The key for us to maintain our preparation and our work routine. Those are the key things that we can control. We can’t direct the ball after its hit and I know with the attitude of this group, it’s a resilient one and we’re getting tested right now. There’s no doubt about it.”
WHAT WENT WRONG
• Emilio Bonifacio’s two-run homer in the fourth not only gave the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead, but almost resulted in a significant injury for right fielder Shane Victorino. While tracking the blast into the Toronto bullpen, the outfielder smashed his side, on the full run, into the somewhat-unforgiving padding. After lying on the field for a few moments — leading Farrell and the medical staff to run out to analyze the situation — Victorino remained in the game (although he would ultimately come out in the seventh and taken to be examined at Massachusetts General Hospital after the game).
“The way Shane hit the wall, he started to stiffen up as the game went on,” said Farrell, who surmised Victorino would be ready to play Tuesday. “And given what he’s been dealing with, low back-wise, we weren’t going to take any chances further today.”
• Just a half-inning after Mike Napoli had cut his team’s deficit to a run via a solo homer, Dempster gave the run right back when Edwin Encarnacion hit homer over the left field wall to increase the visitors’ lead to 6-1 in the fifth inning. Encarnacion came into the game just 1-for-14 against Dempster and 3-for-31 vs. the Red Sox this season.
• Andrew Miller didn’t have any better luck than Dempster, allowing three runs on two hits (including a Brett Lawrie homer) while getting just one out.
• Red Sox pitching ultimately allowed five home runs (two by Jose Bautista). It was the first time this season the Sox staff has allowed that many homers, having done it five times in 2012.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
• Napoli showed signs of life, launching a solo homer over the center field fence to lead off the fourth. (He would also later double.) For Napoli — who leads the major leagues with 23 extra-base hits — it was his first home run since hitting a pair on May 1. Of the slugger’s seven homers, five have come against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox came into Sunday 4-1 when Napoli hit a homer and 3-9 in games the first baseman (who was serving as designated hitter Sunday) didn’t have a hit.
• The Red Sox were able to get Pedro Ciriaco some playing time at first base, with the utilityman coming on in the seventh after starter Mike Carp was pinch-hit for by Jonny Gomes. Ciriaco highlighted his day by homering in his first at-bat of the game.
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