The Red Sox claimed a series win over the Blue Jays Wednesday night thanks to another solid performance by Joe Kelly and a ten-run attack from the offense as they took down the AL East leaders and actually made it look kind of easy.
Red Sox fans might find this game oddly familiar, and if they do, it's because they've often been on the other side of it. While the Jays may own the East lead, they're not without their glaring weaknesses. One of them took the mound for his 27th start of the season Wednesday night: Drew Hutchison.
No, the Red Sox are not the only ones who have had to deal with disappointing young pitchers this year, and Hutchison did not disappoint. He managed a pair of relatively clean innings to start the game, then got a double play ball from Jackie Bradley Jr. to erase a leadoff walk in the third. But with two down he fell behind Mookie Betts 3-1, then gave him a fastball over the outside part of the plate. Betts caught up to it, and dropped the ball onto the shelf in front of the Monster seats for what would prove to be a home run after a quick review.
No big deal, though. Solo shots will happen. Except, having allowed the one run, Hutchison fell to pieces. Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts extended the inning with singles, bringing David Ortiz to the plate. Hutchison one again fell behind, once again offered up a high fastball, and was once again punished for it with a homer, this time to dead-away center field for three runs. He would stay in the game to get Travis Shaw to end the inning, and Pablo Sandoval to start the fourth, but quickly surrendered back-to-back doubles to Rusney Castillo and Ryan Hanigan, ending his night.
In fact, Hutchison's sudden collapse the second time through the order was reminiscent of nobody so much as his competition in Joe Kelly. Kelly's entire season, up until about a month ago, has been marked by difficulties getting through the order multiple times. And for the first time in a while, those problems seemed to be rearing their heads again. Having faced the minimum through the first three, Kelly was greeted in the fourth by a leadoff single from the first batter to see him twice in Ben Revere, then after getting Josh Donaldson to fly out, offered up a walk to Jose Bautista and a single to Edwin Encarnacion to bring a run in to score, then hit Chris Colabello with two out to load the bases. Russell Martin, however, was frozen by paint on the outside corner for strike three, keeping the Jays from ruining Kelly's night.
The danger for Kelly would continue from there, with the Jays producing a pair of two-out hits in the fifth before Jose Bautista struck out to end the inning, and having two of the first three batters of the sixth reach. But Kelly induced a double play, then handed the ball over to Jean Machi, who induced an inning-ending ground ball to keep Kelly's earned run tally at just the one for the night.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox had once again gone to work, this time on the Toronto bullpen. After Mookie Betts doubled home a second run in the fifth to give the Red Sox a 6-1 lead, Boston broke things open with another big inning in the fifth, loading the bases with zero outs and eventually pushing across four runs on a single from Pablo Sandoval, double from Ryan Hanigan, and ground out from Mookie Betts.
All that was left was the traditional Boston bullpen disaster, the honors performed by Craig Breslow this time, who allowed a three-run shot to Chris Colabello in the eighth inning. But with just one Red Sox reliever struggling, the Jays never came close to making it a game again, and the Sox walked away with an impressive series win over the AL East leaders.