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Red Sox Nearly No-Hit in 8-0 Blowout

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David Ortiz walks away after striking out in the fourth inning on Thursday. The Sox slugger went hitless after homering four times in the first three games of this four-game series. Nathan Denette/AP

The only solace the Red Sox can take from Thursday’s 8-0 smack down at the hands of the Blue Jays? At least they didn’t get no-hit by a rookie.

That was a very real possibility, as Toronto starter Marcus Stroman hadn’t allowed a Red Sox hit through the first six innings of the game and came back looking for the final nine outs to complete the job.

Shane Victorino broke up the no-hit bid by leading off the seventh with a bloop single to center. Stroman finished the inning, however, as David Ortiz flew out to center and Mike Napoli bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.

Stroman earned his sixth win of the year after allowing just the one hit in seven innings of work, while also walking two and striking out seven. De La Rosa took the loss in his worst start of the season, allowing seven runs, six of them earned, in just four innings on nine hits with two walks and one strikeout.

The Blue Jays put this one out of reach in the bottom of the fifth, as Juan Francisco singled to left and drove home Jose Bautista and Dioner Navarro to put Toronto ahead by a touchdown. They added another in the eighth inning on a double by Cabrera that scored Reyes from first for their eighth run of the game.

They upped their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second off RBI doubles by Ryan Goins and Melky Cabrera, then made it 5-0 just an inning later on a two-run homer by Juan Francisco.

After loading the bases with one out in the first, it looked like De La Rosa would be able to get out of the inning unscathed after Dan Johnson popped out to third, but a passed ball on Christian Vazquez allowed Cabrera to score from third and put Toronto up 1-0.

MVP: Juan Francisco

The Toronto first baseman had himself a day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with four RBIs, finishing a double shy of the cycle. He had been hitting just .232 entering Thursday’s game and hadn’t recorded a three-hit game since May 8 against the Phillies.

GOAT: Rubby De La Rosa

The 25-year-old had perhaps the worst start of his major league career, allowing seven runs, six of them earned, in just four innings of work as the Blue Jays pounded everything he threw their way. The seven runs he gave up was just six less than he had allowed in his seven 2014 starts combined. The last time he came close to the amount of runs he gave up on Thursday was back in June 2011, when he allowed five runs in back-to-back starts as a member of the Dodgers.

ICYMI: David Ortiz appeared the tweak his back trying to hold up on a swing in the top of the ninth. He tried to stretch out in the batter’s box, but was attended to by training staff and left the ballgame. His status is considered “day-to-day.”

TWEET OF THE GAME:

NUMBERS TO KNOW: Brock Holt became the first Red Sox player ever to start a game at every position besides pitcher and catcher in the same season…After doubling off Jose Reyes in the bottom of the fourth, Jackie Bradley, Jr. recorded his seventh double play; no other outfielder had more than three entering Thursday…It was also Bradley’s 12th outfield assist of the year, tying him for the most in the American League…The Red Sox scored just seven total runs over the past three games after setting a season-high on Monday with 14.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Sox dropped back to 47-55, eight games under .500 for the first time since beating the Royals on July 18. It was their third loss in a row after winning five straight and eight of the last nine. They now sit nine games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East and are currently in last place in the division, two games behind the Rays.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Red Sox now head to Tampa Bay for a three-game weekend series with the Rays. Jon Lester gets the ball in the first game, as the Sox ace sits at 10-7 with a 2.50 ERA in 20 starts this year. He was nearly untouchable his last time out, going eight innings against the Royals on July 20, allowing no runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Fellow lefthander David Price will start for the Rays, also 10-7 on the year with a 3.06 ERA in 21 starts. His last appearance was almost identical to Lester’s, as he pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts against the Minnesota Twins on July 19.

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