Before the two-hour rain delay, before a summer storm drenched and lit up Fenway Park, there was Felix Doubront giving up a career-high seven runs through six innings in a 9-6 loss to Toronto.
Doubront allowed four runs in the first inning, putting the Sox in a hole out of which they never climbed. Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer, plating Brett Lawrie who had a lead-off single. After Jose Bautista reached on an error by Will Middlebrooks, Edwin Encarnacion doubled him home and later scored.
“It’s tough. It puts you in a hole,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamcchia said of the early deficit. “But with our offense we were able to come back, just keep plugging away, but it wasn’t enough.”
And though the Sox chopped the deficit in half with two runs in the first, Doubront went out and gave up a double to Ben Franscico and an RBI single to Rasmus. He took the loss when J.P. Arencibia hit the go-ahead homer in the sixth, breaking a 5-5 tie.
“I think he was trying to throw a lot of strikes, and didn’t want to waste a lot of pitches,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “It seems like a lot of them got hit, not that all of them were hit hard, that’s for sure. I’d say he gave up six or seven hits off the end of the bat or jammed, about four of them were hit hard.
“It wasn’t his best outing, but he’ll improve on that.”
Indeed, it was arguably Doubront’s worst start of the season. Though not his shortest outing, the 11 hits were a career-high, as were the seven runs. Relying more on his changeup than he has in the past, Doubront struck out just two, which tied for a career-low as a starter.
He had beaten the Blue Jays twice this season already, allowing two runs on four hits on April 9, and three runs on seven hits on June 2.
“Same approach,” Doubront said of the differences between starts against Toronto. “A couple bad pitches. One of those days.”
Doubront had emerged as one of Valentine’s most reliable starters, especially as injuries have the rotation looking vastly different from that penned at the season’s outset, but has thrown 85.1 innings this season, just short of his 2011. Valentine sees no problem in that regard.
“I think he’s fine,” Valentine said. “I think he’s still building.”
Ortiz continues power surge
Doubront entered Monday’s game second in the league in run support. He got little of that outside of David Ortiz.
Ortiz had his 39th career multi-homer game, crushing a two-run bomb in the first that gave the Sox some life and snapped Ortiz out of an 0 for 11 drought, and returned from the rain delay to the tune of a solo shot to centerfield in the eighth.
“I can’t tell you what to attribute it to,” said Valentine of Ortiz’s success this season. “His batting practice every day is stellar. His games have been consistently terrific. The only time he got outside of himself was a couple days ago, then he got the off day and he came back with a vengeance tonight.”
Ortiz’s 37th career multi-homer game, which ties him with Ted Williams for the club record, moved him to 398 career homers. He now has 20 homers for the 11th straight season. This is the fastest Ortiz has reached the mark since 2006, when he wound up with 54.
“I’m not going to try to analyze it,” Valentine said. “I’m just going to enjoy it. It’s what we’ve needed, obviously.”
Before the game, MLB released the latest All-Star Game vote tallies, and Ortiz was comfortably in the lead for the starting DH spot.
Bautista goes yard again
Bautista’s two-run homer in the seventh off Matt Albers was his fifth blast in his past seven games. He leads the AL with 24 this season and has 12 in June, which set a new franchise record and drew high praise from Valentine..
“You know, when you find something as a hitter, it clicks,” Valentine said. “A lot of times you have good results. He starts his swing earlier than anybody in this league, with his front leg, he has great balance. The power he generates, once he stops, is pretty impressive.”