TORONTO — It was a strange night at the ballpark for the Red Sox, who lost, 9-7, to the Toronto Blue Jays. Consider . . .
• Jon Lester, who came in 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA, allowed six runs, five of them earned on six hits and two walks over six innings. It was a struggle from the start for him as he allowed a run in the first, three in the third and two more in the fifth.
“It was one of those nights from pitch one,” said Lester, who has given up eight earned runs in his last 11 2/3 innings. “I wasn’t able to repeat … I had to grind it out. I never felt good.”
• Edwin Encarnacion had the big hit for Toronto, a two-run homer to center field off Junichi Tazawa in the seventh inning. It was his second of the game and gave the Blue Jays an 8-7 lead. Tazawa had not allowed more than one earned run in a game since his rookie year in 2009.
• John Farrell was left questioning the judgment of home plate umpire Clint Fagan, a replacement called up from Triple A for the series.
The Blue Jays had the bases loaded with no outs in the third inning when the Red Sox called a play to try a pickoff at first base. Farrell, who managed Toronto for two seasons, knew that Jose Bautista tended to drift off the bag. With Encarnacion up, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was supposed to snap a throw to Mike Napoli.
As the play developed, Saltalamacchia thought he had Bautista, who was just turning to go back to first. But his elbow struck Fagan’s mask and the throw went into right field. Two runs scored.
Fagan, according to Farrell, claimed the contact came during the Saltalamacchia’s follow-through.
“Which was kind of impossible,” Saltalamacchia said. “I told him that.”
Farrell spoke to Fagan after the inning.
“That should have been a dead ball,” Farrell said. “He didn’t see the way we saw it.”
According to the Major League rulebook, the Sox had a case. Rule 5.09 (b) states that runner may not advance when the plate umpire interferes with the catcher’s throw.
Saltalamacchia did not protest at the time. Had he done so immediately and gotten other umpires involved, there could have been a different call.
Saltalamacchia said umpires have made contact with him in the past and he didn’t realize the rule. He regretted not arguing.
“Every run counts,” he said. “Obviously, like tonight, that could have been a big part of the game.”
• Then there is David Ortiz, the hottest hitter in baseball at the moment. He drove in four more runs with a home run and a double. In nine games since coming off the disabled list, Ortiz is 18 of 36 with nine extra-base hits and 15 RBIs. Oh, and he didn’t play in spring training.
Ortiz was 4 for 18 in his rehab assignment with Pawtucket. Apparently stats in rehab assignments don’t mean much.
• Jacoby Ellsbury has a terrible base-running blunder in the fifth inning. He was on second with two outs and Mike Napoli up. Jays starter Brandon Morrow was struggling.
Ellsbury was picked off second by Morrow to end the inning. Given Ellsbury’s speed and the fact there were two outs and a run producer at the plate, his straying off the base made little sense.
“At the time, over-aggressiveness on our part. Felt like we had Morrow coming to the end of the night. Unfortunately he got picked off second,” Farrell said. “Not a real good heads-up play given the game situation.”
• After the game, there was some weirdness from Shane Victorino. He left the shower and hid in a hallway to avoid reporters, none of whom were at his locker. Victorino actually sent a clubhouse attendant to get his clothes and he dressed in the back before leaving.
Apparently he wanted to avoid questions about his injured back. Why that would be a big deal isn’t clear.
The Sox finish April 18-8. But if not some weird moments under the dome of the Rogers Centre, they could well have had a franchise record 19 wins in the month.