The Red Sox left their rally too late Sunday afternoon, suffering through seven no-hit innings against the ever-baffling Marco Estrada before scoring four runs in the late going, falling by just one to the Jays.
This is just the most Estrada of Estrada games. Those seven no-hit innings started off with a pair of walks to Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, which in turn led into a whole lot of nothing. David Ortiz hit the ball hard, but couldn't get it to drop, keeping the Sox from pushing anything across in that first frame. The Red Sox got another baserunner in the second, but then would have to wait all the way until the eighth for their next one.
For the Jays, on the other hand, it was just a bunch of big hits. Eduardo Rodriguez had surrendered some long fly ball outs in his first start of the season, but this time they got a bit further. The Jays managed just four hits on the day. They were all home runs. Jose Bautista tatooed the fourth pitch of the game--a hanging changeup--over the Monster for a solo shot. Rodriguez survived the second inning, but went right back to giving up bombs in the third, with one each to Darwin Barney and Edwin Encarnacion, the latter coming with Josh Donaldson on base by way of a walk.
Rodriguez did at least manage to get through the fourth and fifth while facing just six batters. But with one out in the sixth, Russell Martin made it an even four. The young lefty stayed in to manage one more hard-hit out before being pulled.
So that was the hole dug for the Red Sox. And they almost managed to escape it. Chris Young would be the one to break up the no-hitter, continuing a surprising run of success against righties by planting one solidly into the third row of Monster seats, bringing the Red Sox withing four. They'd make up three more of those runs in the ninth, with Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz continuing their hitting streaks with a double a piece. Hanley Ramirez brought the Red Sox within two with the third double of the inning, and after a single into right, the Red Sox brought the winning run to the plate. Chris Young managed to keep the game going, but a pinch-hitting Marco Hernandez finally struck out behind him to end the game.
So in the end, it was not as horrific a game as it could have been. The Red Sox did not get no-hit by Marco Estrada. They did not get shut out. But they did lose the game, and the series. It's something they've been doing a whole lot more of recently than anyone in Boston can be comfortable with, particularly against the AL East. And now, tied with the Orioles, and with Toronto on their heels, they head west to face the even-year Giants at an inopportune time. The Sox need to start firing on all cylinders again, lest they let let too much of what they accomplished early on slip away.