Sox are beaten in 10th
Two Gonzalez HRs for naught
TORONTO — Twice this season the Red Sox had found themselves on the threshold of reaching the .500 mark. When you’ve been scratching and clawing to reach that level, it can be just the thing to jump-start a season.
After failing in their two previous attempts, the third try last night did not prove to be the charm as the Red Sox suffered a 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays on David Cooper’s walkoff sacrifice fly to center in the 10th inning at the Rogers Centre before a sparse crowd of 17,820.
Rajai Davis, who singled up the middle off Matt Albers (0-1) and stole second and then third, scored the winning run.
The Sox, who dropped to 17-19, squandered a season-high 16 hits and three home runs, including a pair by Adrian Gonzalez, who recorded the 11th multi-homer game of his career.
“This was one of those days where [the offense] kind of picked us up,’’ said reliever Daniel Bard, who gave up a solo shot to Cooper, the first homer of his career, that gave the Blue Jays a 6-5 lead in the eighth. “Unfortunately, we gave it away in the end, but they kept us in it.’’
Gonzalez, who went 3 for 6 with 3 RBIs, helped the Sox rally from a 3-0 first-inning deficit to a 4-3 lead in the fifth with his two-run shot to left off Toronto’s 23-year-old rookie starter Kyle Drabek. His second homer, a leadoff shot to left in the ninth off Frank Francisco, tied it at 6-6.
“I would rather go 0 for 5 and win,’’ Gonzalez said. “It doesn’t matter what I do, we lost. It’s not about me.’’
Starter Jon Lester recorded a no-decision. In a 25-pitch first inning he walked in Toronto’s first run, and wound up giving up three runs in the frame on one hit and three walks.
“I think the first inning was magnified because we gave up three runs,’’ said Lester, who wound up throwing 114 pitches, 68 strikes. “All in all, it wasn’t very good. The bullpen needed a break and I didn’t do a very good job of going deep.’’
Lester went 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits including solo homers by Jose Bautista in the fifth and J.P. Arencibia in the sixth. He plunked Yunel Escobar on the foot with his final pitch of the night, prompting manager Terry Francona to summon Rich Hill from the bullpen with one out in the sixth.
“It was uncharacteristic,’’ Francona said of Lester’s performance. “He was kind of frustrated [early] and he kind of settled down and gave us a chance once we got back in it.’’
Carl Crawford, who was thrown out trying to score from second in the fourth inning, rifled an RBI single to right in the second that scored David Ortiz, who doubled to center, to pull the Sox within 3-1. Ortiz then homered, his fifth this season, to lead off the fourth, cutting it to 3-2, but the Sox couldn’t tack on another run because Crawford was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Corey Patterson to end the inning.
Gonzalez’s first homer, a two-run shot in the fifth, made it 4-3. But Lester kept giving runs back with the homers he allowed to Bautista (his 11th of the season) and Arencibia.
“It was one of those days where I didn’t have it,’’ Lester said. “I didn’t have command of anything. There was no pitch I could go to that got me back in the counts or got me bat contact. It was one of those deals where we had to battle our way through no matter what the situation was.
“You have these starts and I’ve got to do a better job of minimizing the damage and I didn’t do that tonight.’’
Hill started the seventh impressively, getting Edwin Encarnacion to line to third and striking out Aaron Hill. With two out, Alfredo Aceves relieved Hill. He hit a man and walked a pair, but wiggled out of it by getting Davis to fly to right.
The Sox tied it, 5-5, with one out in the eighth when Jed Lowrie doubled to deep center off Marc Rzepcynski. Jose Iglesias ran for Lowrie.
After getting Crawford to ground to first, Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined a single to left, scoring Iglesias from third.
Bard entered in the bottom of the eighth and surrendered a homer to Cooper, who had come in for the injured Escobar.
“I just thought he was going to be geared up for that fastball away and I thought it would blow up his bat,’’ Bard said of his 3-2 offering. “But it ran right into his swing.’’
Gonzalez tied it at 6 in the ninth with a leadoff homer to left off Francisco. After getting the next two batters, Francisco allowed the next two to reach before striking out Crawford with a 96-mile-per-hour fastball.
Albers worked a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Arencibia with a 94 m.p.h. fastball to send it into extras, where the Sox bid to get to .500 went awry.
“I don’t know, whatever our record is, we always want to win,’’ Francona said. “We want to win every game, no matter what our record is.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.