5:07 PM Eastern
It’s funny, if you look just at the scoreboard, you could very well come to the conclusion that Jesse Litsch pitched worse today than Jo-Jo Reyes pitched yesterday – that’s why they call it baseball, I guess.
Litsch was terrific against a tough Boston squad, save for one rather large swing. The Red Sox used the old “two bloops and a blast” offense in the bottom of the second and – the way Boston starters dominated the Blue Jays’ bats this weekend – that was enough.
It started with one out, when Jed Lowrie hit a looper that appeared to be headed into the stands on the third-base side. So much so that Jayson Nix took a look at it and didn’t even bother to chase. The wind took the ball, though, and not only blew it back onto the field of play, but blew it fair – Lowrie (who had given up on it, too) wound up at first with a single. J.D. Drew followed with a liner to centre for a single, then Jarrod Saltalamacchia got just enough of a Litsch offering to just get it by a diving Aaron Hill for an RBI single. Jacoby Ellsbury was next, and he simply murdalized a get-me-over 2-0 fastball – the blast to deep, deep right field gave the Red Sox a 4-1 lead and they were never headed.
After the homer, Litsch settled down and retired 13 Red Sox hitters in a row, giving up a couple of unearned runs after a Jayson Nix error extended the 6th inning.
In the overall, he gave up four earned runs on seven hits in six innings, walking one and striking out five. He threw 97 pitches to get 18 outs, compared to the 94 pitches Reyes threw yesterday to get his nine. Again, Litsch retired 13 in a row at one point – Reyes’ high water-mark on that score yesterday was three.
It went from bad to worse with Shawn Camp coming out of the bullpen in the 8th to give up a double, hit a guy and walk another. A very unCampic performance, and Adam Lind’s first error of the season didn’t help him, but by then it was too late.
The Blue Jays had their chances, but didn’t get a hit with a runner in scoring position and when they had a chance to strike in the 8th, ran themselves out of the inning. Granted, it was 6-1, but rookie Felix Doubront was on the ropes, having walked Corey Patterson and Adam Lind around a fly out by Jose Bautista. The tying run was on deck with Doubront facing Aaron Hill, who seems to have found his swing at Fenway, but Patterson thought he had the kid’s timing down and took off to steal third while Doubront was still holding the ball in his stretch. The lefty spun on the rubber, stepped off and easily nailed Patterson at third to take a lot of the air out of the rally.
The Blue Jays did score their only run of the ballgame with a bit of derring-do. Hill was on third and Juan Rivera at first (yes, he reached base, it’s true) with two out in the second and Jayson Nix at the plate. Rivera took off for second, drew a throw from Saltalamaccchia and stopped running as Hill raced for the plate. The Red Sox chose to resolve the rundown and allow Hill to score. It wasn’t quite Rick Leach intentionally falling down halfway between first and second, but it was a neat little play nonetheless. Sadly, that was it – the Blue Jays scored a grand total of two whole runs over the weekend.
Here’s today’s brief edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure:
Tomorrow, it’s the finale of both the series and of the season’s first road trip. A win would get the Jays a split at Fenway and leave them 4-6 for the trip, which isn’t bad at all. Ricky Romero takes the mound for the good guys against Boston’s struggling 5th starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. It’s Patriots Day in Boston, so we’ll be on the air at 11:00 AM Eastern for an 11:05 first pitch – join us, won’t you?
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