Bean­town Beat­down

Bos­ton’s Betts burns Bi­agini and Blue Jays in 15-1 blowout

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY GRE­GORY STRONG

The Toronto Blue Jays were hop­ing to close out their home­s­tand with a win Sun­day to re­store some op­ti­mism as they em­bark on the sec­ond half of the sea­son.

In­stead, a blowout loss to the divi­sion-lead­ing Bos­ton Red Sox made their last-place hole even deeper.

Mookie Betts hit two homers and drove in eight runs as the Red Sox crushed the Blue Jays 15-1 to com­plete a three-game sweep. Betts had four of Bos­ton’s 21 hits - in­clud­ing a three­run shot in the fourth in­ning and a two-run blast in the sixth - and scored three times.

He helped turn the game into a laugher with a two-run sin­gle in Bos­ton’s eight-run sev­enth in­ning.

“When you get to the plate, you’re just ex­pect­ing a good pitch to hit and you’re ready for it,” Betts said. “To­day I was just more ready than other days.”

The Amer­i­can League East lead­ers have won four in a row and six of their last seven games. The Blue Jays, mean­while, fell 9 1/2 games be­hind Bos­ton and wrapped up the home­s­tand with a 1-5 mark.

Toronto (37-44) has dropped four in a row and eight of 10 over­all.

“When you’re in the mid­dle of it, it’s never fun,” said Blue Jays catcher Rus­sell Martin. “But you’re one win away from be­liev­ing that it’s go­ing to come back.”

Toronto’s bats have gone silent of late and the tim­ing is less than ideal.

The Blue Jays en­tered the home­s­tand with op­ti­mism that they were close to be­ing in the mix with the con­tenders in the East. In­stead they’ll head to New York for a three-game se­ries start­ing Mon­day in des­per­ate need of vic­to­ries.

“I’ve got a ton of con­fi­dence in them,” Toronto man­ager John Gib­bons said of his play­ers. “It’s just some­times this game can knock you pretty good.”

July is make-or-break time for bub­ble teams and the Blue Jays’ brass may start shift­ing fo­cus from the present to the fu­ture if the los­ing con­tin­ues. Only Detroit, Chicago and Oak­land were be­low Toronto in the Amer­i­can League stand­ings en­ter­ing Sun­day’s games.

“We’ve been cold for the last few days,” Gib­bons said. “That’s got to change. In my mind, that will change.”

A sell­out crowd of 46,696 at Rogers Cen­tre en­joyed bright sun­shine at the start of the game. The roof closed in the third in­ning and Toronto’s win­dow of op­por­tu­nity in this one was soon sealed along with it.

Bos­ton (47-35) touched up starter Joe Bi­agini (2-8) for sin­gle runs in the first two in­nings and Tzu-Wei Lin and Deven Mar­rero reached on back-to-back bunts in the fourth. Betts fol­lowed by turn­ing on a 2-0 pitch for his 14th homer of the sea­son.

Betts ended Bi­agini’s af­ter­noon in the sixth with a homer that just curled around the left­field foul screen. Bi­agini struck out seven over 5 1/3 in­nings and al­lowed 10 hits, seven earned runs and two walks.

“A frus­trat­ing se­ries for us, but there’s al­ways a cer­tain (pos­i­tive) per­spec­tive that you can choose to take so that’s what I’m go­ing to try to do this week,” Bi­agini said.

Han­ley Ramirez led off the sev­enth with a sin­gle and added a two-run shot - his 12th homer of the sea­son - later in the in­ning as the Red Sox sent 12 bat­ters to the plate.

CP PHOTO

Bos­ton Red Sox Mookie Betts, left, is con­grat­u­lated by Deven Mar­rero as he crosses home plate af­ter hit­ting a two-run home run off Toronto Blue Jays start­ing pitcher Joe Bi­agini dur­ing sixth in­ning Ma­jor League Base­ball ac­tion in Toronto on Sun­day.

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