Daniel Bard Flounders, Blue Jays Walk Off Over Red Sox

It was another poor day for Daniel Bard on the mound, and another loss for the Red Sox, who fell to the Blue Jays 6-5 on a walkoff single to send the Sox to .500 on the spring.

In need of a strong outing, Daniel Bard just couldn't put everything together Sunday. After a clean first, Bard ceded a home run to Adam Lind on a slider that caught too much of the plate in the second. Despite giving up runs in the third and fourth as well, he could have left with a decent line were it not for the sixth. Hitting Jose Bautista and walking Adam Lind, Bard could hardly afford the hard-hit ground ball double he allowed down the line in left. One run would score immediately, with a second to follow on a ground out.

If it were an isolated incident, Bard's outing--five earned runs in six innings--could be written off easily enough. There were some fairly weak hits, and it could easily have been a better night for Bard, especially should he prove capable of erasing some of the late-inning wildness with increased experience as a starter. Unfortunately, however, Bard still really hasn't proven that his changeup can be a reliable third option, or that he can maintain his control and command as a starter. With the season just about a start away, he doesn't have much time left before these outings start counting, either.

While it was hardly Bard's night, the rest of the Sox had a pretty decent outing. Mike Aviles was especially effective, providing two doubles and a single, taking part in three of Boston's runs on the night. Darnell McDonald and Jacoby Ellsbury added triples to the cause, while Ryan Lavarnway's 3-for-5 night leaves his OPS over 1.000 on the spring.

All this was enough to bring the Sox back into a tie with the Jays at 5-5--a tie which was held by Scott Atchison, Andrew Bailey, and Justin Thomas through the end of the ninth. Doug Mathis, however, would not be able to hold on. With the Jays loading the bases on a pair of walks and a bunt in the tenth, Ricardo Nanita's fly ball single was enough to put an end to the game at 6-5.
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