Pitcher Rick Porcello recorded his shortest outing of the season Friday night.
“He was erratic,” manager Alex Cora said. “It wasn’t a good one.”
Facing the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, Porcello couldn’t make it through a rocky third inning and exited the game after securing only six outs. It was the first time since July 2015 the former Cy Young winner had pitched less than three innings as a starter.
“He missed his spots, and they took advantage of him,’’ Cora said.
Porcello took care of business in the first inning, facing four batters and giving up only one hit — a single to Jays third baseman Yangervis Solarte.
Things quickly took a turn, however, when he started the second inning by walking back-to-back batters. What followed was a Kevin Pillar RBI double that sailed over J.D. Martinez’s head, a Dwight Smith sacrifice fly, and a Lourdes Gurriel RBI single to give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.
While the Red Sox bailed their struggling pitcher out with a five-run second inning, Porcello didn’t do the team any favors when he returned to the mound to start the third. He was unable to record a single out, giving up a single, a double, and two home runs before getting pulled by manager Alex Cora.
“I just never got into a groove,’’ Porcello said. “I don’t know what to say really. This one’s completely on me. Our team did a hell of a job after I put us into a deficit, and I couldn’t hold it.’’
During his short outing, Porcello gave up eight earned runs, seven hits, and two homers. He also walked a season-high four batters and struck out two. His final pitch count was 64 — 35 for strikes.
“You can’t expect to have success when you put four guys on base with free passes,’’ he said. “I couldn’t make pitches with those guys on base and never found it.’’
Righthander Hector Velazquez relieved Porcello and promptly secured three straight outs to end the third inning. Tyler Thornburg, Ryan Brasier, Joe Kelly, and Robby Scott also made relief appearances.
The Blue Jays added three runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to cement their 13-7 win. With the loss, Porcello is 11-4 on the season. The 29-year-old hadn’t lost a decision since June 10, but noted it wouldn’t be too difficult to put this one behind him.
“We’re playing good baseball right now, just came off a 10-game win streak,’’ Porcello said. “I had a terrible night, that’s for sure, but at the same time, our ball club’s playing real well right now. I’m not going to let one bad night affect what we’re doing and keep moving forward.’’
Cora said Porcello’s next start will be Boston’s fourth contest after the All-Star Game, July 23 at Baltimore, as scheduled.
“He had a game, that’s it.’’