More­land, Red Sox sweep se­ries against Jays

Winnipeg Free Press - - SPORTS -

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays had one solid chance to get to Rick Por­cello on Wed­nes­day night.

But a fluke play worked out in the Bos­ton starter’s favour and the Red Sox went on to win 7-1 for a three-game sweep over the strug­gling Blue Jays.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth in­ning, Por­cello snared a hard-hit line drive from Dar­win Bar­ney, then struck out Raffy Lopez to end the threat.

Asked if Bar­ney’s line drive could have been a turn­ing point had it snuck through, man­ager John Gib­bons replied: “There’s no doubt about it.

“Who knows what dif­fer­ence that might have made.”

In­stead, Por­cello con­tin­ued to shut Toronto’s hit­ters down, re­tir­ing nine straight after Bar­ney’s liner be­fore is­su­ing a two-out walk to Lopez in the sev­enth.

“That was a mo­men­tum-stop­per,” Por­cello said.

The loss, Toronto’s fourth straight and 10th in 12 games, put them 11 games un­der .500 at 61-72, ty­ing a season-low.

The Blue Jays, who showed flashes of play­off po­ten­tial just weeks ago, opened Wed­nes­day 7 ½ games back of a wild­card spot.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s been real tough,” Gib­bons said of the ugly los­ing stretch. “But we haven’t played good enough base­ball lately. So deal with it, what else are you go­ing to do, right?”

Por­cello (9-15), last year’s AL Cy Young win­ner, went 6 2/3 in­nings of one-run ball with six hits, two walks and seven strike­outs.

Pinch-hit­ter Mitch More­land led the way of­fen­sively with four RBI’s.

More­land, in to pinch hit for des­ig­nated hit­ter Chris Young in the sev­enth, fol­lowed a Han­ley Ramirez dou­ble by drilling a fast­ball from re­liever Tom Koehler into the sec­ond deck in right field to give the visi­tors a 3-1 lead.

He was at it again in Bos­ton’s four­run eighth in­ning, lac­ing a soft line drive to cen­tre off Aaron Loup to plate two more.

“It seems like they keep com­ing at you, for sure. It’s a tough lineup, 1 through 9,” said Toronto starter J.A. Happ, who went six in­nings in the node­ci­sion, al­low­ing one run and four hits while strik­ing out two and walk­ing four.

“They’re in first place for a rea­son right now. They were tough this se­ries, for sure.”

Ramirez fol­lowed the Toronto’s missed fourth-in­ning op­por­tu­nity with a lead­off solo homer in the fifth to tie the game 1-1 and snap Happ’s streak of 39 2/3 in­nings with­out al­low­ing a home run.

“Those are the plays that are the dif­fer­ence in games, es­pe­cially lately for us,” Happ said of the bases-loaded chance. “To break it open would have been nice but we just couldn’t hold on there.”

Betts and Bo­gaerts started Bos­ton’s four-run eighth with back-to-back RBI dou­bles off Tim Mayza. Mayza did not record an out and was charged with all four runs in the in­ning.

Toronto be­gins a four-game road se­ries on Thurs­day night against a Baltimore Ori­oles team that’s won seven straight.

“We’re go­ing to go into Baltimore to face a team that’s hot right now as well,” Happ said. “So we’re hop­ing to bounce back.”

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