Red Sox 10 Blue Jays 1
TORONTO — The Boston Red Sox are proving to be quite the killjoy for the Toronto Blue Jays, who continue to look lost against a team that bedevils them like no other.
Shaun Marcum, who has traditionally pitched well against the Beantowners, buried his club early by getting pounded for season-highs of four homers and eight earned runs, while the offence was helpless against a dominant Clay Buchholz in a 10-1 rout Wednesday.
Adam Lind had three hits but otherwise there were very few positives to speak of for the Blue Jays (59-54), who fell to 2-9 this season against the Red Sox (66-49).
At the same time, they squandered more of the optimism and excitement created by strong series versus two other AL East rivals, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
“Pretty deflating,” said Marcum.
“This is one series we needed to win. We’re playing teams ahead of us the rest of the year it seems like, so we can kind of control our own destiny if we want to be in it in September and towards the end of September.
“We’ve got to win series and win ball games, especially against the guys ahead of us.”
They won’t have long to lick their wounds, as the series finale goes Thursday afternoon. Rookie Brad Mills will try to help the Jays avoid a three-game sweep against John Lackey before heading off on a nine-game road trip.
“It hurts,” said Lind. “It’s been a tough two games.”
Marcum (10-6) came in 5-2 with a 2.91 earned-run average in 13 career outings versus Boston but struggled with his location from the get-go and eventually cracked during a five-run fifth that blew things open before a crowd of 28,308 at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays were already down 4-1 when J.D. Drew opened the fifth with a solo blast to right before a pair of singles were followed up by an Andrian Beltre three-run homer that sent Marcum to the showers.
“My mechanics felt off a little bit but that’s no excuse, I’ve still got to make pitches and try to find a way to grind out some innings,” said Marcum. “For the most part I was up in the zone and didn’t do a very good job of locating.”
Bill Hall took Marcum deep twice, a solo shot that put Boston ahead 2-1 in the second and a two-run drive that made it 4-1 in the fourth. The four homers off the right-hander matched the total he had surrendered over his previous six outings.
Marcum, who also walked Mike Lowell with the bases loaded in the first, lost consecutive starts for just the second time this season and the numbers aren’t pretty. Including his 5-1 defeat in New York to the Yankees last Wednesday, he’s allowed 13 earned runs on 15 hits and four walks over his last 10 innings.
“The last couple of outings he just hasn’t had good location,” said manager Cito Gaston. “He’s a guy that’s got to have his location.”
Hall added an RBI single off Brian Tallet to cap the fifth while Victor Martinez stroked a run-scoring base hit in the eighth off Casey Janssen to give Buchholz (13-5), who allowed five hits and two walks in eight outstanding innings, some extra insurance he didn’t need.
Buchholz allowed an unearned run in the first when Travis Snider reached on first baseman Lowell’s error, was sacrificed to second by Yunel Escobar, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Jose Bautista’s fly to right, and then locked things down.
The Blue Jays never put more than one runner on against him, unable to do much with fastballs regularly hitting 96 m.p.h. and a curveball dropping into the zone at 80.
“He was on the money tonight,” said Lind. “Cutter, changeup, curveball, he had his good stuff.”
Buchholz, who turns 26 on Saturday, improved to 2-0 against the Jays this season and 5-3 with a 2.79 ERA against them in his career.
“His stuff was tremendous,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “We probably saw some of the best velocity we’ve seen, and he held it.”
Notes: Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said the team is still looking at going with a six-man rotation in September but added the plan is “not a certainty. The biggest thing is the innings,” he continued. “If the innings don’t work out then you got to do something and nobody knows that until we get close.” The Blue Jays, as a general guideline, try to limit their pitchers’ year-to-year workload increase to about 20 per cent. … Left-hander Brett Cecil threw a bullpen session Wednesday and said that he’ll pitch Saturday at the Angels with three stitches in his right knee, but doesn’t expect it to affect him. He was pushed back in the rotation after hurting himself trying to jump up four steps leading to the clubhouse and missed. “It really shouldn’t set me back at all,” he said. “I threw 100-plus pitches in my last two outings and it’s only my second full year as a starter so I’m sure it has something to do with that than the knee.” While he called the injury “something stupid” he feels the extra rest could be a blessing. “Going late into the season, any extra days I can get helps a lot,” he said.