The Toronto Blue Jays began their current seven-game trip riding a franchise-tying winning streak, but have struggled to simply win a game this week.
Looking to get back on track, the Blue Jays try to keep the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox from a fourth consecutive win Friday night.
Toronto (39-39) won 11 in a row before losing two of three at Tampa Bay, then was unable to recover after Boston (48-33) scored all its runs in the second inning of a 7-4 victory Thursday.
"You assume you're going to cool off a little bit. That's the way the game works," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. "But you can't have any reversed fortunes."
Dustin Pedroia 's two-run homer off Chien-Ming Wang highlighted the big inning for the Red Sox, who have opened a nine-game homestand outscoring opponents 23-11 in three straight wins. They've won 13 of 17 at Fenway Park.
However, the Red Sox received a scare when Jon Lester left in the eighth inning with an apparent injury."I slipped a little bit. I guess the doctors were kind of calling it a little jammed hip, a type of zinging sensation down my leg." Lester said.
"I'm not too worried about it. The doctors didn't seem worried about it."
The Red Sox are already minus nine-game winner Clay Buchholz , who continues to recover from a neck injury.
That means Allen Webster (0-2, 11.25 ERA) gets a second straight start, and third career, since he was recalled from the minors over the weekend. The right-hander needs to be better than Saturday when he gave up a first-inning grand slam to Victor Martinez and one other run in 4 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss at Detroit."The four runs given back in the first set the tone for the entire evening," Boston manager John Farrell said. "I think he settled down after the first inning and pitched OK."
Toronto counters with Josh Johnson (1-2, 4.60), who pitched well for five innings then allowed four runs and couldn't get out of the seventh inning, but earned his first win as a Blue Jay in Sunday's 13-5 victory over Baltimore."Another good outing for him. That's one win," Gibbons said. "Getting on the board so you've got something to show for it always makes you feel good."
The right-hander is making his first appearance at Fenway, but is 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts versus Boston. He gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 6-4 loss to the Red Sox on April 5.
Pedroia, 2 for 5 with a double against Johnson, is 9 for 16 with six RBIs in four games since he batted .146 with four RBIs in the previous 11.
Teammate Jacoby Ellsbury has hit safely in eight straight games and .382 with 11 RBIs his last 25. He's in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak versus Toronto.
The Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion hit .350 with four homers and 12 RBIs during the 11-game winning streak, but since then is 2 for 15 with a solo homer in four contests.
Toronto put outfielder Melky Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis after Thursday's loss and recalled infielder Munenori Kawasaki from Triple-A Buffalo. Kawasaki was sent down after Tuesday's game to make room on the roster for shortstop Jose Reyes .
|Jackie Bradley Jr.||3||.333||1||0||0||0||0||.333||.666||.333|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 27, 2013||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left knee tendinitis|
|June 03, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Ankle sprain|
|Boston Red Sox|
|June 23, 2013||Shane Victorino||Day-to-Day||Left game - back|
|June 23, 2013||Franklin Morales||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral|
|June 22, 2013||Franklin Morales||Day-to-Day||Back|
|June 15, 2013||David Ross||60-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 11, 2013||Clayton Mortensen||15-Day DL||Right hip impingement|
|June 11, 2013||Clayton Mortensen||15-Day DL||Right hip impingement|
BOSTON (AP) -- Koji Uehara deserves a break after three perfect saves in three days as Boston's new closer.
So don't look for him coming out of the bullpen in the ninth inning of the next game.
"I'm going to tell them that I'm not available tomorrow," a laughing Uehara said through a translator after the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-5 despite squandering a five-run lead on Friday night.
Joel Hanrahan had blown four of his six save opportunities and had a 9.82 ERA before Tommy John elbow surgery ended his season. Andrew Bailey also struggled and blew two consecutive save chances before manager John Farrell turned to his third option, Uehara.
"After he went through his throwing program, he said he was good to go" for a third straight day, Farrell said. "So, we were in a save situation, he was going to be the guy."
Jonny Gomes put Uehara in that situation when he broke a tie with a bases-loaded, pinch-hit single in the two-run seventh.
"I'm a grinder," he said. "I'm willing to take one off the neck for the team. You've definitely got to be confident."
Gomes hadn't played in five of the previous six games, but is 4 for 12 with two homers and three RBIs as a pinch hitter. He also is hitting .321 with runners in scoring position.
"With the bases loaded, as disciplined he is with the strike zone, one way or the other it felt like he was going to come through in that situation," Farrell said.
The Red Sox had 15 hits, giving them at least 10 for the sixth time in seven games. They have 93 hits over that span.
Andrew Miller (1-2) got the win with 1 1-3 scoreless innings.
The Red Sox won their fourth in a row and improved to 49-33, the best record in the AL and 3 1/2 games over second-place Baltimore in the AL East. They're 16 games over .500 for the first time since they finished the 2011 season at 90-72. Last season, the Red Sox won just 69 games.
With the score tied at 5, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia singled in the seventh off Neil Wagner (1-2). Brett Cecil relieved and both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Mike Napoli walked, loading the bases.
Gomes, pinch hitting for Daniel Nava , then lined a single past third baseman Maicer Izturis for the go-ahead run. Darren Oliver came in and walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia , forcing in the second run of the inning.
Toronto lost its second game of the series after coming to Boston with 12 wins in its previous 14 games.
Boston had led 5-0 through four innings against Josh Johnson , who lasted just 3 1-3 innings and had no decision for the sixth time in his nine starts this year.
"It was one of those frustrating outings where I should have gotten deeper," he said. "They battled me. They made me throw a lot of pitches and ran up my pitch count."
But Toronto scored four runs in the next two innings and tied it in the seventh on a solo homer by Edwin Encarnacion , his 23rd of the year, off Bailey.
"We battled to come back and tie it and then they dropped two on us again real quick," Gibbons said, "but the bullpen can't be perfect every night."
Uehara has been.
He struck out two of the three batters he faced in each of the last three games - one against Colorado and two against Toronto.
"He's got that changeup and he keeps you off balance and he's very durable and loose," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They've been trying to find that guy ever since Hanrahan went down and then Bailey struggled and he seems like the perfect guy for it."
The Red Sox went ahead 2-0 in the second on a walk to Napoli, a single by Nava and Stephen Drew 's sixth triple of the season and third in four games. Napoli singled in a run in the third before the Red Sox scored two in the fourth when Drew started the rally with a one-out double.
He left the game with a tight right hamstring and Brandon Snyder pinch ran. Jose Iglesias then singled and both runners scored on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury .
After four shutout innings, Red Sox rookie Allen Webster struggled in the fifth when he allowed RBI singles to Jose Bautista and Encarnacion and a sacrifice fly to Adam Lind .
Rajai Davis then led off the sixth with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Izturis.
Notes: Farrell said Drew is day-to-day. ... Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to nine games and increased his AL-high total to 22 hits leading off an inning. ... Toronto SS Jose Reyes singled in the third, his first hit since he returned Wednesday after missing 66 games with a severely sprained left ankle. ... Boston rookie SS Iglesias went 2 for 4 and has 52 hits in 124 at bats. ... Johnson, who came to Toronto from Miami after last season, got his only win with the Blue Jays in his previous start, a 13-5 victory over Baltimore. ... Esmil Rogers (3-3) pitches for Toronto on Saturday against Felix Doubront (4-3) in the third game of the four-game series.