Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 3: Clutch-free offense sends Red Sox right back to losing

Jared Wickerham

An 0-for-11 performance with runners in scoring position left the Red Sox back in the loss column Saturday afternoon.

The Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays 2-3 thanks to and offense that came up completely empty with runners in scoring position.

Much as they'd done Friday night against Ramon Ortiz, the Red Sox created plenty of opportunities to score against Mark Buehrle. A pair of one-out singles in the first and a one-out double and walk in the second gave them four early shots with runners in scoring position, and they came up empty both times. The Jays, on the other hand, turned a leadoff walk in the third into a run with a two-out single, and then scored again in the fourth on another pair of singles to make it 2-0.

That would be all the Jays would get off of Clay Buchholz, who continued his strong start to the season with an eight-inning effort. With the Sox coming to bat in the bottom of the eighth without a run on the board, however, it was still not enough. Buehrle had worked through the first seven without giving up many more baserunners, despite having allowed 17 runs in his last 18 innings.

The eighth would finally change that for the Red Sox, and for a while it looked like this was destined to be an exciting comeback win. Buehrle would exit the game after allowing a leadoff walk to David Ross, and when David Oliver came in things started to fall apart for the Jays. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a long fly ball that bounced low off the wall in center field, bringing Ross home with a triple, and then scored when Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball to short that ate up Munenori Kawaski. After a stolen base from Pedroia, the Sox had one out, a runner in scoring position, and a tie game.

Their problems from earlier would not abate, however. David Ortiz struck out on an attempted check swing, and after an intentional walk to Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes went down looking. Their failure to bring Pedroia around was suddenly made that much graver when Junichi Tazawa left a curveball up in the zone and Adam Lind knocked it up into the significant wind blowing out to center field, depositing it on the batter's eye in center field to put the Jays up 3-2.

Even after that, though, it still seemed like the Red Sox were going to walk away with a win when Will Middlebrooks led off the ninth inning with a line drive to left. A diving Melky Cabrera couldn't come up with the ball, allowing Middlebrooks to reach second. And yet, even given three more opportunities, the Red Sox still could not hit with runners in scoring position. Stephen Drew hit a weak flare to short, Daniel Nava looped a fly ball to Melky Cabrera in left, and Jacoby Ellsbury grounded the first pitch back to the mound. An 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position became an 0-for-11, and the Red Sox were once again knocked right back into the loss column.

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