Final, Blue Jays 3-1: Unlike Monday’s game, Sergio Santos closed it out, striking out Kevin Youkilis and having David Ortiz ground out.
The pressure was on Santos. If he didn’t shut it down, Toronto fans would be clamoring for Francisco Cordero to take over closing duties.
2:46 p.m.: After walking Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, Ricky Romero is on his way out of the game.
Sergio Santos — who blew the save on Monday — will be coming in to close it out.
Bottom 8th, Blue Jays 3-1: Yunel Escobar tacks on an RBI single to give Romero some space to breathe in the ninth inning.
Lester did his part once again, but hasn’t been getting the run support during his starts. He did throw a little too many pitches very early into the season with 116.
Mid 8th, Blue Jays 2-1: Just when the game couldn’t get any quicker, it did. Romero continues to dazzle, retiring the side in eight pitches.
For those counting, that’s 17 straight batter that Romero has retired. Looks like he’s gunning for the complete game and he seems primed for it.
Bottom 7th, Blue Jays 2-1: Man, Lester has been dealing too, throwing a scoreless and hitless seventh.
If it wasn’t for the hiccups in third inning, both Romero and Lester would be nearly perfect and the game would be scoreless. Neither have allowed baserunners ever since, which is why the game has flown by.
Mid 7th, Blue Jays 2-1: Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero has retired 14 straight Red Sox batters.
Only two guys — Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia — have homered for Boston this year. Power outage or strong pitching?
Lester has pitched well, but hasn’t gotten the run support once again.
Bottom 6th, Blue Jays 2-1: Toronto slugger Jose Bautista has been shut down this series, going hitless until this point.
He’ll get it going eventually, but it’s crazy to think the Blue Jays could pull it out to win the series with absolutely no production from Bautista.
Mid 6th, Blue Jays 2-1: You have to give Romero credit for battling back from a 3-0 count against Dustin Pedroia. He got him on a full count before inducing a groundout.
His fastball has been on point and the Red Sox’ offense continues to pounce on the pitcher.
Bottom 5th, Blue Jays 2-1: Lester flustered Davis and Arencibia, striking them out each.
It marked Arencibia’s second strikeout of the afternoon. He hasn’t started out too well out of the game this season, hitting .100.
Too much, Kurkjianing?
Mid 5th, Blue Jays 2-1: Brett Lawrie made a spectacular diving grab on Cody Ross’ line drive hit.
When the Blue Jays played the Sox in Fort Myers, former Boston pitching coach and current Toronto skipper John Farrell said he thought Lawrie had a little Dustin Pedroia in him.
He mentioned that Lawrie chirps a little bit like Pedroia in the clubhouse, to..
Bottom 4th, Blue Jays 2-1: That was 14-pitch inning for Lester, which was much better for him.
He also sprinkled in a few more changeups in that inning. The changeup is always in his back pocket, but we don’t see it very often from him.
Mid 4th, Blue Jays 2-1: Ricky Romero took care of business, getting Youkilis, Ortiz and McDonald out, consecutively.
Last season, Romero tallied a 2-2 record against Boston with a 6.56 ERA in those four starts. He allowed 17 earned runs against the Sox.
So far, no signs of the 2011 struggles for Romero.
Bottom 3rd, Blue Jays 2-1: After tossing just seven pitches in the first inning, Lester’s at 50 after this one. It was a long one for him.
Rajai Davis ignited the two-run inning, hitting a triple to bring in Eric Thames. Yunel Escobar’s sac fly added onto the pressure.
Lester will try to eat some more innings, but if his pitch count continues to climb quicker than expected, the bullpen will get some work — again.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Just minutes after we touched on Ellsbury’s slump to start the year, he slices an RBI single to drive in Mike Aviles.
The Sox could have pounced on for more runs, but Kelly Shoppach didn’t lay the best bunt down, which allowed Toronto to get the force out.
Bottom 2nd, 0-0: Lester makes quick work of the Blue Jays’ lineup once again.
With that cutter working per usual, Lester induced groundouts from Ben Francisco and Brett Lawrie. Back seven years ago, Kelly Shoppach used to catch Lester’s cutter as they were both prospects.
Now, years later, Shoppach noted — in the spring — that Lester’s cutter has matured tremendously since their days together.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: I turn my head for one second and next thing you know the inning is over.
Kevin Youkilis grounded out, David Ortiz popped up and Darnell McDonald grounded out.
Since the start of the spring, McDonald has taken a cool, calm and collected approach to his situation. When Carl Crawford returns, it could change up his situation, but McDonald has handled his business so far.
Bottom 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester with another quick first inning, just like last time around in Detroit.
I wonder if it’s coincidence or the fact that Bobby Valentine and Bob McClure stress working quickly and efficiently.
McClure said he was real big on working quick and not taking too much time in between pitches, so if Lester’s swift innings continues, it may be a byproduct of that.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez made good contact with Romero’s pitches, driving the balls to the warning track for eventual fly outs.
Jacoby Ellsbury, however, struck out swinging. His slow start has been a little of surprise after last year’s MVP-caliber season and he didn’t homer at all in the spring.
Ellsbury has started 2-for-20, but last year he started 3-for-21 and you all saw what happened.
12:30 p.m.: Here are the lineups.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Darnell McDonald, RF
Cody Ross, LF
Mike Aviles, SS
Kelly Shoppach, C
Jon Lester, P
Yunel Escobar, SS
Kelly Johnson, 2B
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Ben Francisco, DH
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Eric Thames, LF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Rajai Davis, CF
Ricky Romero, P
8 a.m. ET — The Red Sox (1-4) have split the first two games of the series against the Blue Jays (3-2). In the rubber match, Jon Lester will take the mound for the first time since Opening Day, when he surrendered just one run through seven frames.
On Wednesday, Lester will look to replicate that form and earn the victory when he takes on Toronto pitcher Ricky Romero at 12:37 p.m. A lengthy outing would be valuable, considering how Boston’s bullpen has been taxed in recent days.
After scoring late runs in each of the last three games, the Red Sox’ offense will need an early start to avoid falling behind for the sixth straight game.
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