TORONTO — For a team with aspirations of playing in October, a 10-game road trip to Houston, Kansas City and Toronto needed to produce more than four victories.
The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park for a weekend series with the Yankees still in first place in the American League East, but bruised up after a 2-1 loss against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night.
The Sox lost consecutive one-run games against the last-place Blue Jays to drop the series and ended the trip with losses in five of the last seven games. Now their lead in the division is down to two games.
The “easy” part of the month is over, too. After three games with the Yankees, the Sox start a six-game West Coast trip on Monday in San Francisco.
“We should have done better on this trip,” David Ortiz said. “But we needed to play better. Now the schedule is going to be crazy. It’s kind of stupid. But we have to get it together.”
Jake Peavy pitched well in his third start for the Sox, taking a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning before giving up two runs. But that wasn’t enough on a night when the Sox put numerous runners on base and left them there.
The Sox had 11 hits and drew three walks off Jays starter Mark Buehrle and two relievers but were 2 of 11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners on base.
The Sox were 6 of 34 (.176) with runners in scoring position for the series, scoring eight runs.
• The Red Sox have lost consecutive series for the first time since May when they lost three straight against the Rangers, Twins and Jays.
• A day after he belted a game-tying two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, Mike Napoli didn't play.
Farrell decided before Wednesday’s game that Napoli would get a break in the final game of the series.
“The decision was made for this to be a down day for him,” Farrell said. “We’re going to get in at 3 in the morning. We have another lefthander in [Andy] Pettitte on the mound against us [Friday] night.
“Just trying to balance the schedule. We’ve got a challenging 10 days ahead of us. Just trying to keep everyone involved as best we can and find matchups where it might make the most sense.”
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia also was out of the lineup.
• When Daniel Nava singled in the second inning, it marked the 28th consecutive start that he reached base safely. Nava has reached in 79 of his 91 starts this season.