Falling Jays fly to Fenway Park

The start of the season has been roller-coaster ride for the Toronto Blue Jays.

After getting swept by the New York Yankees in their first three games, the Jays won their next five games before losing seven of their next eight.

The Jays, who now have a record of 6-10, kick off a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night.

Toronto enters the contest on the heels of dropping three of four to New York to start off their season-long 11-game road trip.

The Blue Jays were blanked in the final game of the set on Thursday, 4-0. Toronto is now 6 games behind the first place Yankees in the AL East.

Pete Walker (1-1) absorbed the loss Thursday, giving up three runs and three hits over five innings, while Shannon Stewart, Vernon Wells, Carlos Delgado, Josh Phelps and Eric Hinske had one hit apiece in the losing cause.

Toronto will pin its hopes on lefthander Mark Hendrickson on Friday. The 28-year-old is 1-2 on the season with an 8.59 ERA, including a loss in his last start on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins. In that outing he yielded five runs on eight hits, while fanning seven without a walk in 6 1/3 innings.

Hendrickson has already allowed 16 runs and 25 hits over 14 2/3 innings in three starts this season. In two career starts against Boston, he is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA, with the win coming earlier this season.

Delgado has a team-best seven career RBI against Wakefield.

Toronto took two of three from Boston earlier in the season and has beaten the Red Sox in seven of the last 10 matchups. However, the Blue Jays have dropped seven of their last nine in Fenway.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, try for their season-high fifth straight win Friday evening.

On Thursday, Pedro Martinez tossed seven shutout innings, and Kevin Millar and Jason Varitek each had two hits and drove in two runs to lift Boston to a 6-0 win over Tampa Bay in the finale of their three-game series.

Martinez (1-1), coming off the worst outing of his career, permitted just two hits for his first win of the season. He struck out three and walked three to lead the Red Sox to their fourth straight win and a series sweep.

Millar contributed a home run to extend his hitting streak to 13 games while Varitek tripled home two for Boston, which leads the American League with 98 runs. Nomar Garciaparra, Doug Mirabelli and Manny Ramirez each posted two hits.

Second baseman Todd Walker, who walked in the first inning, has reached base in 14 straight games to start the season.

Tim Wakefield will toe the rubber this evening for the Red Sox and is 1-0 on the year with a 4.85 ERA. The 36-year-old knuckleballer, who earned the save in Sunday's win over Baltimore, picked up his first win of the season in his last start back on April 6, holding Baltimore to two runs and four hits over six innings.

Wakefield, a righty, is 6-6 with a 3.79 ERA in 29 career appearances, including 19 starts, against Toronto. He was 2-0 against the Blue Jays last season with a 1.89 ERA.

with files from Sports Network