Rick Porcello put the Boston Red Sox in a good position to extend their winning streak to five Wednesday night.
The Red Sox ace was strong through seven innings of work against the Toronto Blue Jays, in which he allowed just six hits and struck out five.
But a dismal second inning in the field and quiet bats plagued the Sox, as they ultimately fell to the Blue Jays 3-0 at Rogers Centre.
The second inning started with a throwing error from Pablo Sandoval, who allowed Troy Tulowitzki to reach base after air-mailing a throw over the head of Mitch Moreland. Moreland then committed an error of his own on the next hitter, as a Russell Martin grounder snuck under the Red Sox first baseman’s glove.
Both Blue Jays eventually scored in the inning, as Darwin Barney smacked a two-RBI single and later scored on a base knock from Ezequiel Carrera. The three runs in the second frame were all Toronto needed, as Boston hitters failed to get anything going throughout the contest.
After an eight-run outburst Tuesday night, the Red Sox responded with just six hits Wednesday, all of which were singles. A lack of extra-base hits has been an issue for the Sox to start the season, and it certainly was the case in the loss to Toronto.
Given the question marks that surround Boston’s pitching rotation, it needs to capitalize on strong outings from its starters. Porcello was dealing Wednesday night, but his impressive performance was all for naught because of sloppy defense and offensive woes.
Thursday’s starter, Chris Sale, has experienced this frustration more than any other Red Sox starter, as the left-hander has received just two runs of support in three outings to start the season. The Sox and Sale are hoping the bats will bounce back from a slow Wednesday night in hopes of winning the series Thursday afternoon.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays.
— After 129 consecutive plate appearances without striking out, Mookie Betts was punched out by Francisco Liriano, ending the impressive streak. It was the longest streak since Denny Doyle went 159 consecutive at-bats without sitting down on strikes in 1975.
— Eduardo Rodriguez was featured out of the bullpen Wednesday night, entering in the eighth inning in relief of Porcello. The lefty missed a scheduled start Tuesday because of paternity leave, which allowed Brian Johnson to earn his first major league win. Rodriguez posted a perfect inning as he shut down the side in order with two strikeouts.
— Sandoval was the only Red Sox hitter to record a multi-hit game. The Red Sox third baseman went 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. celebrated his 27th birthday in style Wednesday night, as the center fielder went yard for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox in their 4-0 win over the Charlotte Knights. Bradley, who’s serving a 10-day disabled list stint with a knee injury, could rejoin the big league club as soon as Friday.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images