For the second straight game, the world-beating Red Sox offense was tasked to hit a struggling pitcher. And for the second straight night, they were held hitless for an extended period of time.
While R.A. Dickey is not Ubaldo Jimenez levels of bad, he has certainly not been very good since joining the Blue Jays, and while there's an element of "any given night" to the knuckleball, watching the Red Sox fail to get in that hit column until the sixth inning after getting shut down for multiple innings by Ubaldo Jimenez is one of the least encouraging sights this team has produced thus far in 2016.
But where the Red Sox had turned a no-hit performance from Ubaldo Jimenez into a typical five-run outing, against Dickey they just kept doing nothing. They'd scored a run in the first thanks to a walk, some productive outs, and a wild pitch. But after Ortiz broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff double in that sixth inning, they even failed to bring him in from third with one out, as Travis Shaw tapped a ground ball back to the mound and Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out to end the inning. And while a two-out double from Mookie Betts ended Dickey's night, Jason Grilli got a reasonably well-hit ground ball to second from Dustin Pedroia to end the inning.
Really, Dickey wasn't excellent. The Red Sox got their baserunners against him, walking five times and having David Ortiz hit by a pitch. They found themselves out at first by a step a few times, to boot. But baseball is a game of inches, and whether a leaping grab from Darwin Barney or a throw from Josh Donaldson that was just in time, the inches were solidly against the Red Sox tonight.
Unfortunately, the offensive blank from Boston would waste what was a productive-if-unimpressive performance from David Price. The lefty surrendered a two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the first to put the fear in Red Sox fans after a couple awful pitching performances in Baltimore, but he rebounded nicely from there. Too many walks, sure, but the only time Toronto scored off Price from there came when Travis Shaw bounced a throw to first and Hanley Ramirez couldn't track it, letting the Jays bring a third run in on a double play. He finished seven frames with just the two earned runs to his name, and that should be enough with this lineup.
But the lineup was bad tonight against Dickey, and when Koji took over, the game was pretty much put out-of-reach. He just kept on hanging splitters, and eventually Devon Travis took one out for a two-run shot. It hurts to say, but at 41, he might finally be done.
There was a brief chance in the eighth after the Sox put two men in scoring position with nobody out, but with Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw continuing to scuffle at the plate, Boston could push only one run across. They did manage to get Xander Bogaerts one last at-bat in the ninth to keep the streak alive, but he struck out to end the game with two men on. And with the Orioles winning against the Yankees, Boston's time in sole possession of first was over.
These are not the best of days in Fenway Park.