In the sixth inning of Saturday's 7-3 loss, Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion smashed Cook's 91 mph offering over the Green Monster for a three-run home run. An inning later, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia capitalized on Cook's sinker for a solo shot.
They were two ineffective pitches that hamstrung Cook in his sixth start of the season. But they were also the only two pitches the sinkerball specialist regretted throwing in his third loss of the season.
"I felt like I was really in a good rhythm except for those two pitches," Cook said. "If I could have those back to do over again, I’d throw the same pitch, just in a little bit better location and probably have a better result."
The two blasts marred an otherwise solid performance from Cook. By the end of the night, the Red Sox pitcher allowed four hits, five runs — three earned — and one walk in 6 1/3 innings.
But Cook nearly evaded the trouble in the sixth, having retired Anthony Gose and Brett Lawrie on groundouts. The ensuing sequence against Colby Rasmus, however, went haywire for the sinkerballer.
After inducing a swing and miss with an opening curveball, Cook fired four straight balls to Rasmus to issue a walk. The loss of command didn't bode well for the looming matchup with Encarnacion.
"That at-bat, I just kind of lost command a little bit and was trying to get back into it with Encarnacion coming up next and just left one that leaked back over it a little bit," Cook said. "I think he was starting to dive, so, in retrospect, if I'd have thrown a sinker in, different result, but you can't always look back and say what if. You've got to go with what you've got. That’s the pitch I was committed to. I just missed my location."
It snapped Cook's streak of 19 innings without yielding a round-tripper, which dates back to June 29th at Seattle. Other than lackluster defense that resulted in unearned runs, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine lauded Cook's efforts.
"He has groundballs going, he kept them at bay for awhile," Valentine said. "I think the walk, he might have lost a little concentration. I don't know they only hit two balls hard against him. They both went over the fence."
Despite the rocky outing, Cook owns a 2.16 ERA over his five starts since coming off the disabled list. In each outing, he's allowed three earned runs or less, delivering a dose of consistency for the rotation.