There are no words for just how bad a loss the Red Sox just suffered at the hands of the Blue Jays.
For as terrible as the overall game was, it's a damn shame that the record books will forever show four earned runs for Rick Porcello. The reality is that he was responsible for two, maybe three.
The first? No question. After surviving the dangerous part of the lineup with just a double the first time through, Porcello went and did the one thing he really couldn't, allowing the bottom of the order to hurt him. Darwin Barney and Kevin Pillar struck with back-to-back doubles to open the scoring.
The second and third that followed, though? The result of one of the most maddening "rallies" Red Sox fans have borne witness to in recent memory, continuing directly on from those doubles. With a man in and a man on second, Jose Bautista came to the plate. You'd figure that with him, Donaldson, and Encarnacion up, the damage would be done in emphatic fashion. But no, instead Bautista hit a bloop in front of Jackie Bradley Jr, bringing Donaldson up with men on the corners. The two got locked into a lengthy battle, but ultimately Porcello was able to get him to take a pitch over the middle, clearly in the bottom of the zone.
But what should have been a strikeout was instead called ball four, loading the bases for Encarnacion. And on the 0-1 pitch to the designated hitter, Porcello caught him on the hand. If that's usually good for a base and a run, this time it should not have been, as Encarnacion very clearly swung at the pitch, making it a strike by rule. But the umps again did not see it Porcello's way, and replay could only reinforce that the pitch had actually hit the man, not whether or not there was a swing.
(They would apparently learn about this rule between innings, as David Ortiz later swung at a pitch that bounced off his foot. It was called a strike.)
Porcello would finally get out of the inning with a double play ball and a fly out to left-center. But at least one, and possibly two of the three runs should never have come in. The Red Sox found themselves down as much to the umpires as to the Jays.
But done was done, and all there was for the Red Sox to do was score some runs. So score they did. Xander Bogaerts led off the fourth with a solo shot, and while the second fourth-inning line drive double play in as many games for Boston once again killed a rally, they broke through against Stroman in a big way come the fifth. Christian Vazquez turned the lineup over with a one-out double down the left field line, moved to third on an infield single from Mookie Betts, and then scored along with the right fielder on a gap double from Dustin Pedroia, tying the game. Bogaerts kept the rally rolling with another hit, and Hanley Ramirez put the Red Sox up 5-3 by taking a belt-high changeup into left for a two-run single, with the inning only ending on a questionable out call at second base as he tried to stretch it into a double.
The Sox kept right on scoring in the sixth and seventh, building their lead to what seemed like a safe mark at 8-4. That made it much less painful when the Sox failed to score Chris Young from third with zero outs in the eighth. But in the bottom half of the inning, the usually stingy bullpen imploded. Tommy Layne started the inning by grazing Michael Saunders, then was almost saved from a single by an excellent diving play from Xander Bogaerts. But a close call at second went against the Red Sox, and while replay suggested that the call on the field was incorrect, it was not enough to overturn it. That brought Junichi Tazawa into the game, and his old Toronto troubles resurfaced. The bottom half of the Blue Jays order produced another pair of hits to score the inherited baserunners, and while Tazawa managed to strike out Jimmy Paredes, it only came after a wild pitch allowed a third run to score and moved the tying run to third.
Now needing perfection, the Red Sox turned to Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel did provide one big strikeout of Kevin Pillar, Jose Bautista cued an outside fastball through the right side of the infield, and just like that, the game was tied.
Believe it or not, though, the worst was still to come. In the ninth, David Ortiz did what he's done so many times and picked the team up with a big solo shot to right field. They just needed three outs from their closer now, and the first two came quickly. Kimbrel would get ahead of Justin Smoak 0-2, but the third pitch was knocked into center for a single. Up came Russell Martin, and again, Kimbrel got ahead 0-2. But with his pitch count rising into the mid-30s, he gave up a couple balls, then gave him a pitch to clobber into the gap in left-center for the game tying double. And the final batter of the game would provide no change to the trend. Another 0-2 count ending poorly. Devon Travis hit a ground ball to Travis Shaw at third, and while he had some small chance on a long throw across the diamond, a close play was made unimportant when Hanley Ramirez couldn't pick the ball. 10-9, Blue Jays.