So that happened.
The Red Sox, winners of four straight and fresh off a series sweep of the Kansas City Royals headed into Rogers Centre and basically annexed it in name of Boston. I'm fairly certain that under the most recent CBA a rout like tonight's grants the Red Sox the right to bat second in Toronto until the Jays manage to return the favor.
Shockingly, this game began with a 1-2-3 inning from Drew Hutchison, who struck out Brock Holt and David Ortiz, getting Dustin Pedroia to pop up in between. Hutchison's fourth out would come on a line drive from Xander Bogaerts who just happened to be batting seventh. In between, the Red Sox fired what can be considered friendly warning shots given what was to come, with Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, and Stephen Drew giving the Toronto outfielders a workout chasing down two singles and a double, with Drew's base hit bringing Napoli in to score the first run of the game. Christian Vazquez would make it 2-0 in less impressive fashion, hitting a high chopper halfway down the third base line which Hutchison could not handle, letting Nava come in to score Boston's second run.
Then came the third, and all bets were off. Hutchison actually managed to get two outs right off the bat, retiring Pedroia and Ortiz on five pitches. But the Red Sox quickly made it clear that Hutchison was not going to settle down for a long stay on the mound. Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava repeated their second-inning performance with a pair of line drive hits, and Stephen Drew was once again good to cash in on the opportunity. This time, however, rather than settling for a one-run single, Drew managed to hook an outside changeup and send it sailing over the wall in right for a three-run shot. Still the Red Sox were not done with Hutchison, as Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. produced another pair of hard hit balls good for a single and an RBI double, chasing Hutchison from the game with six runs and eight outs to his name.
The Blue Jays bullpen fared no better initially. In the fourth the top of the lineup got in on the action, with David Ortiz making good on his promise to get hot by taking Brad Mills very deep to straightaway center, scoring Brock Holt from second in the process. Mills, too, would just see his night get worse as the first three Red Sox reached to start the fifth, Jackie Bradley Jr. doubling home the ninth run of the night for Boston. Christian Vazquez brought them up into double-digit territory with an RBI ground out, and Brock Holt singled to center to make it 11-1. Then, as if it were scripted, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli provided the grand finale, going back-to-back to put three more runs on the board.
So how does this sort of offensive production result in a game time of under three hours? Ask John Lackey, who spent almost as much time walking to and from the mound as he did on it. Relentlessly attacking the zone, Lackey didn't see so much as a three-ball count all night, and the Blue Jays only once took advantage of the strikes being thrown, producing back-to-back doubles to start the third. To that point, Lackey had thrown nothing but fastballs, and the second he mixed in his off-speed pitches, the Jays were done hitting. Their next baserunner would come in the ninth on a one-out ground ball single off Craig Breslow. Three hits, zero walks, and a combined 99 pitches to record 27 outs. It's about the most efficient outing we've seen from the Red Sox pitching staff this season.
This was always going to be the easiest of the four games against the Jays, but if ever a team had reason to be demoralized after game one, this is it. The Red Sox are now 8-1 in the post-Pierzynski era, and they've made it clear tonight that they're out for blood.