Red Sox

Banged-up Red Sox lose to Jays, 6-4, snapping winning streak at six

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Banged-up Red Sox lose to Jays, 6-4, snapping winning streak at six

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox would like to get the AL East wrapped up quickly so they can start resting some banged-up players.

Josh Donaldson homered and drove in three runs, powering the Toronto Blue Jays past the first-place Red Sox 6-4 on Monday night.

Boston's six-game winning streak was snapped and its magic number to clinch a second straight division title remained at three. The Red Sox lead the second-place New York Yankees, who beat Kansas City earlier in the day, by four games with six remaining.

But the most important thing for the Red Sox was the loss of two key players to injuries. For how long? They don't know yet.

Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts both left the game early. Nunez aggravated a right knee injury that sidelined him for 13 games, and Betts came out with pain in his left wrist.

"We'll get it looked at further tomorrow," Betts said. "I'm not really that concerned. Everything will be fine. Couple of days ago, I took a swing and felt it. It's just that point of the season."

Nunez sparked Boston's offense after he was acquired from San Francisco in late July. The utility infielder is batting .321 with eight homers and 27 RBIs in 38 games with the Red Sox.

"Day to day at this point," manager John Farrell said. "I don't have a clear indication of when he'd be next available."

Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz (16-6) had his shortest start of the season, giving up five runs and seven hits in two innings. He had lost only once in his last 18 outings, holding opponents to three runs or fewer in 16 of those games.

Betts drove in two runs, going over the 100-RBI mark for the second consecutive season. Andrew Benintendi had a pinch-hit solo homer.

Boston's loss assured AL Central champion Cleveland of home-field advantage in a best-of-five Division Series that will begin Oct. 5. The Indians' opponent has not been determined yet.

Ryan Goins hit a solo homer and Teoscar Hernandez had a two-run double for the Blue Jays. Brett Anderson (2-2) allowed three runs in five innings.

It was Donaldson's 22nd homer since the All-Star break, most in the AL.

"I think what happened is he's healthy now," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "At the beginning of the season he lost six weeks, seven weeks. I don't know what it was. But to be where he's at, he shows what kind of hitter he is, what kind of player."

Roberto Osuna got three outs for his 38th save.

Toronto slugger Jose Bautista was ejected by plate umpire Chad Fairchild after getting called out on strikes.

Coming off an 8-1 road trip that helped them maintain control of the AL East, the Red Sox fell into an early hole.

The Blue Jays chased Pomeranz with four runs in the second to take a 5-2 lead when Hernandez and Donaldson each hit a two-run double.

"My velocity has dipped a few times but it's come right back when I need it," Pomeranz said. "I really didn't have a chance to get settled in with the short outing."

Donaldson homered about a third of the way up a light stanchion in left-center in the first.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Nunez fouled off a pitch his second time up and went to the ground in pain. He finished the at-bat with a lineout to third, but barely got out of the box and was unable to put much weight on his knee. ... Betts grabbed his left hand in pain after a bloop single and pointed at it while talking with a trainer.

MOOKIE'S MILESTONES

The 24-year-old Betts has 101 RBIs and 98 runs scored this season. Last year, the right fielder drove in 113 and scored 122. The only other Red Sox player with multiple 100/100 seasons before turning 25 was Hall of Famer Ted Williams from 1939-42. "It's pretty cool anytime your name can be amongst him," Betts said.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (9-11, 3.64 ERA) is set to pitch the second game of the series Tuesday night. He lost his last start Thursday after winning the previous three.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (17-7, 2.75) takes his major league-leading 300 strikeouts to the mound. Sale appears to be in a close race with Cleveland ace Corey Kluber for the AL Cy Young Award.

Martinez's signing delayed, but no problems anticipated

Martinez's signing delayed, but no problems anticipated

FORT MYERS, Fla. --  After this winter, what’s a little more waiting?

J.D. Martinez arrived at JetBlue Park on Wednesday morning and was examined during the day. There was a possibility the Red Sox would finish the day by introducing Martinez in his new uniform -- that his agreed-upon, five-year deal would become official.

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We’re going to have to wait until Thursday at the earliest. 

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Wednesday evening told ESPN and NBC Sports Boston that he does not expect Martinez to be in workouts on Thursday. Nonetheless, all indications to this point are that the hold-up is related to the logistics of reviewing Martinez’s medicals.

The Sox are awaiting the results of Martinez’s medical exam(s), which can sometimes include different opinions from different doctors in different places. The Sox’ medical staff is, naturally, Boston-based. Specialists can sometimes be involved.

Media waited around JetBlue Park on Wednesday for word on a press conference’s scheduling. Naturally, there is a sense of the unknown attached to waiting with such a major acquisition.

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But with a deal this large and a player this impactful, the chances of anything going awry to the point a deal deteriorates are slim. The Sox have every right to make sure they’re making a sound investment, and there’s no need to rush a press conference. Contracts can be reworked in the instance something is discovered in Martinez’s exam. But, again, there is no evidence the Sox and Martinez are in that territory.

Martinez has had injuries in recent years. A collision with an outfield wall in 2016 left Martinez with a non-displaced fracture of the radial neck of the right elbow. To begin the 2017 season, Martinez had a sprained Lisfranc ligament in his right foot.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Opt-out clauses, and outfield playing time, swayed Martinez

Opt-out clauses, and outfield playing time, swayed Martinez

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox were able to land J.D. Martinez because of more than just the dollars. The two opt-outs in the deal -- one after Year 2 and another after Year 3 -- are really what came out of the protracted negotiations.

The inclusion of the opt out after Year 2, in particular, was a tipping point, and something the Red Sox weren’t willing to do right off the bat. The dollars the Sox were willing to spend never greatly changed. Martinez's deal could be worth as much as $110 million and go for as long as five years.

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Another important element to Martinez, not to be overlooked: Martinez has also been told he will indeed get some outfield time, a baseball source said Wednesday. The Sox have a full regular outfield with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. But injuries happen, Bradley and Benintendi could occasionally sit against lefties and manager Alex Cora wants to keep guys as fresh as possible.

The high average annual value of Martinez’s deal, $50 million over the first two years if he opts out -- or $71.25 million over three years if he opts out after year three -- give Martinez a chance for even greater earning potential. A potentially short commitment can be good for the Sox as well.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE