Red Sox stumble against Blue Jays
BOSTON — Monday night was not a very good one for the Boston Red Sox.
With the Red Sox’s magic number for clinching the American League East sitting at three after the New York Yankees won earlier in the day, they not only dropped a 6-4 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays but suffered two injuries and saw 16-game winner Drew Pomeranz last just two-plus innings.
Mookie Betts and Eduardo Nunez, the latter returning after missing 13 games with a knee injury, both had to leave the game. Betts left with a sore left wrist and Nunez after aggravating his right knee injury.
No word after the game about how long either might be out.
Pomeranz, his velocity down, allowed five runs and seven hits and contributed to his own troubles when he failed to cover first base to key a four-run second inning.
“Not as sharp,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Pomeranz fell to 16-6 with only his second loss since June 11.
Asked if he thought there might be an injury because of the drop in velocity, the manager said, “It’s where we are on the calendar. I can’t say it’s anything physical, but we recognize he’s got to locate a little bit more consistently and use his overall mix maybe a little bit more thoroughly throughout a given at-bat. That’s what I would say coming out of Baltimore and again here tonight.”
The difference was in Baltimore. Pomeranz had what Farrell called “pinpoint” control while going 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
“My velocity has dipped a few times, but it’s come right back when I need it,” Pomeranz said. “I really didn’t have a chance to get settled in with the short outing.”
Nunez doubled on the second pitch he saw and then crumbled to the ground after fouling a ball off in the third. Farrell said Nunez caught his spike and Nunez stayed in the game — only to be removed before his next at-bat.
“We saw what his reaction was, a little aggravation of the injury that he’s coming back from,” Farrell said. “We don’t feel like there was added damage. He just aggravated it. Day to day at this point.”
Betts, who drove in two runs and joined Ted Williams as the only Red Sox players with two 100-RBI seasons before age 25, bent over at first base after an RBI single in the fifth. He was lifted for a pinch hitter (Andrew Benintendi homered). The wrist problem has been there, but not to this extent.
“We’ll get it looked at further tomorrow,” he said. “I’m not really that concerned. Everything will be fine.”
He said it sprung up “a couple of days ago” and added, “I’m not exactly sure what happened. It was just kind of like sharp pain. I can’t move my hand for a little bit.”
The defeat left the Red Sox four games in front of the Yankees with six to play, and the earliest Boston can clinch is Wednesday night.
Pomeranz, who has been a rock in Boston’s charge to the top, allowed a homer to Josh Donaldson (No. 31, an AL-leading 22 since the All-Star break) in the first inning. Then he gave two-out, two-run doubles to Teoscar Hernandez and Donaldson in the big second.
Pomeranz gave up a leadoff single to start the third and was gone after just 47 pitches. He had beaten the Jays three times already in 2017.
Brett Anderson (4-4, 2-2 with Toronto) worked the first five innings for the win. He gave up three runs and six hits as the Jays won the opener of the series after taking two of three from the Yankees. They are in last place and continue to play hard.
“That was never a concern of mine,” Jays manager John Gibbons said. “But at the end of the season when you’re out of it, you never know. But not with this group.
“We’d like to win a couple games here and maybe put a little heat on them over there and if the Yanks keep winning, maybe that’ll be — I don’t know if it’s gratification, but we’d like it.”
Donaldson, coming off a 3-for-22 homestand, went 3-for-3 with a walk.
Benintendi hit his 20th homer of the year, off Dominic Leone, to cut the deficit to 5-4. But Ryan Goins, who had three hits, homered off Addison Reed in the ninth as the Jays won for only the fifth time in 17 games against the Red Sox this season.
Struggling Roberto Osuna nailed it down with his 38th save, but he is just 12 of 18 in save opportunities and 0-4 in his past 21 games.
NOTES: Toronto RF Jose Bautista was ejected by plate umpire Chad Fairchild in the eighth inning after being called out on strikes for his second straight at-bat. ... Jays 3B Josh Donaldson hit his 14th first-inning home run of the season, tying him with Miami Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton for the major league lead and snapping his personal high of 13 set last season. ... Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia rested a sore knee and is expected to play Tuesday. ... Red Sox LHP Chris Sale, who hasn’t allowed a run in three starts (22 innings, 11 hits) against Toronto this season, pitches against LHP J.A. Happ in the second game of the series Tuesday night. ... Several photographers were close to the Red Sox dugout during the national anthem, but nothing out of the ordinary took place.