Blue Jays drop series as Red Sox cruise to victory
Toronto remain 1½ games ahead of Yankees
The Toronto Blue Jays find themselves limping into New York after two lopsided losses.
At least the starters got some extra rest.
David Ortiz hit his 498th career home run, a three-run shot to cap a four-run third inning, and the Boston Red Sox beat AL East-leading Toronto 10-4 on Wednesday night, sending the Blue Jays to just their second series loss since late July.
Manager John Gibbons took out all but two starting fielders — second baseman Ryan Goins, who shifted to shortstop, and first baseman Chris Colabello — in the bottom of the sixth.
"It wasn't a good night," Gibbons said. "We didn't pitch very well all the way around I think until (Jeff) Francis came in. Yeah. Pitching sets the tone. You guys know that by now."
The Blue Jays lost the series opener 11-4 on Monday before pulling out an extra-inning win Tuesday.
Mookie Betts had a solo homer and drove in three runs, and Ryan Hanigan had three hits and three RBIs for Boston, which posted its ninth win in 13 games by taking two of three from Toronto.
"Just quick striking," Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo said of his team's offence. "Mookie gets the line going and David steps in with the big home run. We just had a really relentless approach tonight."
Despite the loss, the Blue Jays maintained a 1 1-2 game lead over New York, which lost 5-3 to Baltimore. Toronto heads to Yankee Stadium for a four-game series, beginning Thursday night.
"We're fine. These guys are playing great baseball," Gibbons said. "They just took it to us two of these three games here. But it starts on the mound. Two games we lost here we were down early, big and that's the way it goes."
The Blue Jays are 28-9 since July 30, going 9-2-1 in 12 series.
Joe Kelly (10-6) won his eighth consecutive start, the longest stretch by a Boston pitcher since Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez won nine straight in 1999.
"I've been lucky, I guess," Kelly said. "It's been fun. Obviously I've been pitching better than I did in the first half."
Ortiz drove a 2-0 fastball from Drew Hutchison (13-4) into the bleachers in center field. It was his 32nd of the season, and 59th in his career against the Blue Jays, most by any opponent. He's looking to become the 27th player all-time with 500 homers.
"A bad count and missed a spot with Ortiz, and he hit it," Hutchison said. "It just comes down to him not being able to execute a pitch with two outs."
Kelly gave up one run and six hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI single and reached base for a club-record 39th straight game, surpassing Carlos Delgado's mark of 38 in 1998. Colabello hit a three-run homer.
Hutchison was tagged for six runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings for his second straight rough outing. He gave up six runs in five innings in a loss at Baltimore last Friday.
Betts and Hanigan had RBI doubles in the fourth. Hanigan's two-run double keyed a four-run fifth.
Betts had an overturned replay review for his homer.
Blue Jays: LHP Mark Buehrle was back after traveling to Toronto for a cortisone shot in his pitching shoulder. ... CF Kevin Pillar ran into the wall trying to make a catch and was flexing his left knee, but stayed in the game.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia was in the lineup for the second straight day after missing seven weeks with a strained right groin. He was 1 for 5. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval left in the sixth inning with back tightness.
Pitch to him
Reliever Steve Delabar was booed when he fell behind Ortiz 3-0 and booed even louder when Gibbons called for an intentional walk.
Betts extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games.
The Red Sox had five doubles to go along with two homers.
Blue Jays: LHP David Price (14-5) is set to start the opener of a four-game series against New York RHP Luis Severino (3-2) on Thursday. Price is 5-1 since being acquired from Detroit in late July. Red Sox: They are off Thursday. LHP Wade Miley (11-10) is scheduled to face Tampa Bay's Chris Archer (12-11) when Boston opens a nine-game trip on Friday.