Blue Jays’ playoff hopes snuffed out
Sox starter Lester outduels Halladay
When Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was done sewing up Sunday’s 4-3 victory over Toronto, the Blue Jays departed Boston and exited the race for a playoff spot.
The loss, the third in the vital four-game weekend series at Fenway Park, left the Blue Jays 81⁄ games behind the wild-card leaders with
2 12 games to play, very much extinguishing the faint hopes of a playoff chase created by their 11 wins in 12 games before arriving in Boston.
“We obviously put ourselves in a hole coming to this point in the season, and it was a big series for us,” Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay said.
“Knowing we were back a ways, we had to come in and win more games than we did. There’s obviously still two weeks left to go, but it’s tough to come in knowing you’ve got to win three of four and only getting one.”
Toronto’s ultimately failed two-run rally in their final at-bat also fit their season.
The Blue Jays’ offence struggled badly for much of the year, costing former manager John Gibbons and ex-hitting coach Gary Denbo their jobs in mid-June.
Repatriated manager Cito Gaston and hitting coach Gene Tenace seemed to help turn around the club’s hitting fortunes, though it ended up being too little too late to salvage a post-season berth.
Halladay showed no ill effects from starting on three days’ rest for the sixth time in his career.
The 31-year-old held Boston to six hits and two earned runs in seven innings.
Toronto’s problem was Boston left-hander Jon Lester, who did just a little better by limiting the Blue Jays to one run on four hits in his eight innings of work.
“It’s frustrating because we could have done what we wanted to do,” first baseman Lyle Overbay said.