Red Sox benefit from Blue Jays' mistakes in John Farrell's return
Jose Bautista sits out with sore ankle
No Jose Bautista, not much of a bullpen and a bushel of errors.
It was a tough night for the Blue Jays, who shot themselves in the foot several times en route to a 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
"We haven't put it all together yet," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "But too many mistakes tonight. Very rarely are you going to win those kind of games."
Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, the defensive hero of Toronto's win over Cleveland the previous night, had three errors — including back-to-back blunders in the fourth. Bautista was given the night off to rest a sore ankle, leaving Toronto's bench at Adam Lind and backup catcher Henry Blanco.
Boston first baseman Mike Napoli homered and drove in three runs to help make manager John Farrell a winner in his return to Toronto as the Red Sox downed the Blue Jays in the first of their 19 meetings this season.
The Red Sox (3-1) scored single runs in the eighth and ninth to put Toronto (1-3) away. And it could have been worse — Boston left 15 men on base.
Farrell, who abandoned the Blue Jays for Boston this season, was greeted by boos as he was introduced by the Rogers Centre PA announcer. The Boston manager heard it even more from the pumped-up crowd of 45,328 when he walked out to home plate to hand in his lineup card along with Gibbons.
There was more as the night wore on. Farrell took the high road afterwards, perhaps wise with two more games this weekend.
"It was a great ball game," he said. "A lot going on, a lot for the fan to take notice of."
Farrell, who asked to be let out of his contract after two seasons at the Jays' helm, was eventually traded to Boston in October along with pitcher David Carpenter for shortstop Mike Aviles, who was subsequently sent to Cleveland for relief pitcher Esmil Rogers.
Gibbons didn't have many relief options Friday, having used six pitchers in each of the previous two nights — one of which was an 11-inning game.
"Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war," Gibbons sighed.
The Jays manager refused to single out Bonifacio who — on a positive note — punched out a Red Sox runner at home in the ninth.
"It was a tough defensive night," Gibbons said. "Bonnie had a tough night out there but you know he won the game for us [Thursday] night with his defence."
Rogers (0-1) played his part in the game, coming on in relief with one out in the eighth and the score tied 4-4. He soon found himself in trouble after walking pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes and giving up a double to Dustin Pedroia. Napoli then grounded out, driving in Gomes for his third RBI of the night and a 5-4 Boston lead.
In Rogers' defence, it was his third appearance in as may nights.
The Jays had Rajai Davis on third with two out in the eighth but couldn't bring him home.
Boston added an insurance run in the ninth via a Will Middlebrooks home run off a shaky Jeremy Jeffress. It's a wonder only one run was scored in an ugly inning that featured two walks, an error and three stolen bases — and ended with the bases loaded.
Closer Joel Hanrahan, hitting 99 miles per hour, gave up a walk but dispatched the top of the Toronto order to get his second save. Two more and he has 100 for his career.
Reliever Junichi Tazawa (1-0) earned the win. Starter Felix Doubront struck out six in five innings to up his Rogers Centre career total to 19 in 16.1 innings.
Both teams finished with 12 hits.
Reyes misses out on cycle
The loss wasted a fine effort by Toronto's Jose Reyes, who was a triple away from hitting for the cycle.
Down 4-3 in the seventh, the Jays shortstop hit a solo homer to right field off Tazawa to pull the Jays even and end the Japanese reliever's career-long 26-game homerless streak. Reyes went 4-for-5 on the night with a single, two doubles and a homer.
The opposition scored first for the fourth game in a row at Rogers Centre and Napoli put the Red Sox ahead 4-1 in the fifth with a two-run homer off starter Josh Johnson.
Mark DeRosa homered for the Jays, his first home run since April 5, 2010.
Johnson struggled through six innings in the second straight loose performance by one of Toronto's marquee pitching additions. Mark Buehrle also had an off night Thursday but the Jays bats did enough for a 10-8 win over Cleveland.
"I thought Josh was great," said Gibbons. "He had his back against the wall every inning except maybe the third. Just a great competitor."
The six-foot-seven, 250-pound Johnson, who wasn't helped by his fielders at times, bent but didn't break in several innings.
"I found a way to battle, found a way to get some outs in key situations," he said. "But still I've got to be more efficient with the pitches."
Johnson gave up four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits over six innings. He had six strikeouts and two walks.
He loved the Rogers Centre atmosphere, calling it "awesome."
"It was fun to be out there," he added.
He came into the game on the heels of a stellar spring. He went 5-0 with a 2.80 earned-run average, striking out 23 while walking just three in 20 innings. But the big man, who is in the last year of a contract that pays him $13.75 million US this year, opened by giving up a walk and single before registering a fly out and two strikeouts to end the inning.
Boston offered a global pitching approach, with two Japanese and two American right-handers following Venezuela's Doubront.
Toronto's Melky Cabrera tripled in the seventh inning and is now two hits shy of 1,000 for his career.