The Red Sox can’t get out of their own way. They lost yet again on Tuesday, and in incredibly frustrating fashion. After the offense finally showed some life in a four-run eighth to take a three-run lead, they looked like they were cruising for a win. That is, until Jake Diekman imploded in the ninth, giving up three extra-base hits, the latter of which was a game-tying homer from George Springer. It sent the game to extras, where the Blue Jays were able to walk it off for a win.
More robust game notes below
For a Red Sox offense that is mired in one of those slumps that you think will never end, it seemed just plain unfair that they had to go up against Kevin Gausman for Tuesday night’s game in Toronto. Not only did the righty come into this game as one of the best pitchers in the game so far this season, striking out 22 in 18 2⁄3 innings while not allowing a homer or issuing a single walk (!), but he also dominated the Red Sox just last week. Throw in a routine off-day for Rafael Devers, his first of the season, and things were not looking up for Boston’s bats.
They didn’t exactly defy expectations right away against the Blue Jays ace, going down in order in the first. J.D. Martinez did give them some life with a leadoff double in the second, but three straight outs, including two strikeouts, ensured he would move no further on the bases. Similarly in the third, they got a one-out single with the runner moving up to third with two outs, but not getting beyond that point.
Over on the other side, Nick Pivetta got the ball for the Red Sox looking to get his season moving in the right direction after a terrible start. Early on he looked good, needing just 23 pitches to get through the first two innings without allowing a run. But in the third, he started having issues with control, walking Santiago Espinal to lead off the inning. He’d issue another walk in the inning before a double steal attempt cut down the runner on second for the second out, but George Springer didn’t waste the chance, ripping a two-out base hit into left field. Toronto took a 1-0 lead.
The one-run difference seemed insurmountable given the circumstances, but the Red Sox actually did get going in the fourth. Xander Bogaerts led things off with a single, and then moved up to third on a bad throw trying to catch him stealing second. It was a prime opportunity with the man 90 feet away and one out, and sure enough Enrique Hernández got one in the outfield to tie the game up at one run apiece. Even that was frustrating though, as Hernández laced a line drive but a diving Bradley Zimmer limited him to a sacrifice fly rather than extra bases.
But the tie would only last so long, with Pivetta still struggling with location in the fourth. He once again started the inning off with a walk, and this time it was followed up with a single to put a pair on with nobody out. He got two outs from there to nearly escape, but the final out proved elusive. Espinal came through with a line drive back up through the middle, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. came around to give the Jays a 2-1 lead.
Ultimately, Pivetta had two more outs in him, finishing the game with 4 2⁄3 innings of two-run ball, striking out six but walking four. It was technically a step in the right direction, and the contact he allowed was mostly of the weak variety, but the control was rough and he was just way too inefficient.
Still, as has been the case for weeks now, the story was the lack of offense. They didn’t respond after the second out, with the next five batters going down before Bogaerts broke up that streak with a single. Martinez did his best to continue a two-out rally, but his 99 mph line drive was snagged by Gosuke Katoh at first base to end the inning.
After Austin Davis came on for a scoreless sixth, the Red Sox offense finally got away from Gausman for the seventh, but facing the Blue Jays bullpen didn’t change much as they went down in order. Davis and Ryan Brasier then combined for another scoreless inning in the seventh, this time leaving a runner on third, giving Boston six more outs to play with trailing 2-1.
Devers was called upon to pinch hit starting off the top half of the eighth, taking Christian Arroyo’s place in the lineup and ripping a single into right field. Christian Vázquez followed that up with a single of his own, and they had something cooking with two on and nobody out. Finally, they came through with runners on base. Specifically, Trevor Story came through, scalding a double into left-center field to bring home Devers, and the game was tied at two, still with a pair in scoring position and nobody out.
Alex Verdugo was up next, and while he did make the first out it was a productive one, sending a fly ball to left field plenty deep enough to get Vázquez home. The Red Sox caught a break there, too, with Raimel Tapia making an ill-advised throw to the plate, which allowed Story to move up to third with one out. Bogaerts then joined the party with a double down the left field line, and it was a 4-2 Red Sox lead. They’d add one more on a swinging bunt single, and now it was up to the bullpen to protect a three-run lead.
Hansel Robles got the call for the eighth facing the meat of the Blue Jays lineup, and he got the job done. The righty did allow a two-out single, but that was all in an otherwise perfect inning to keep the Red Sox up by three. That just left the ninth, which went to Jake Diekman. The southpaw didn’t get off to the start he wanted, with Tapia starting the inning off with a double. Espinal followed that up with a double of his own, and things got way too interesting, way too quickly.
Now a 5-3 game, still with nobody out and a runner at second, Diekman came back with a big strikeout for the first out. That was followed with another strikeout, but then Springer changed the game. On a fastball right down the pipe, he blasted a no-doubt two-run shot and we were all tied up. Matt Barnes came on for the last out, but the damage was done and we headed into extras.
In the 10th, the offense did get the Manfred runner over to third base with one out, but a Bogaerts line drive back up the middle was stopped by Jordan Romano on the mound, and then Martinez struck out to give the Blue Jays a chance to walk it off in the bottom half. Boston started that bottom half by intentionally walking Guerrero, and then Barnes issued a regular walk to Alejandro Kirk. He did come back with a strikeout before Will Venable turned to Matt Strahm to get out of a bases loaded, one-out situation. He couldn’t find a putaway pitch for Tapia, who finally got a fly ball out to left field, bringing home the winning run and punching the Red Sox in the gut.
The Red Sox now look to snap their four-game losing streak on Wednesday, with Michael Wacha getting the ball to take on Ross Stripling. First pitch is set for 7:07 PM ET.