'What we learned': Sox' 13-3 win over the Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Three things we learned in the Red Sox' 13-3 win over the Blue Jays . . .
1) Rick Porcello had a history of being beaten by Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, but apparently learned some lessons.
Coming into Friday's starts, both veteran Blue Jays sluggers had had their way with Porcello. Encarnacion had been 13-for-34 with three homers and 10 RBI, while Bautista was 14-for-34 with three homers and nine RBI.
But Friday night, in limiting the entire Toronto lineup to two runs on six hits, Porcello tamed the two. Encarnacion was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and Bautista was 1-for-2 (infield hit) and a hit batsman.
Just for good measure, Porcello also shut down Josh Donaldson, who hits in front of the Toronto duo, holding the reigning A.L. MVP hitless in three trips with two strikeouts.
“What Rick has done for a long stretch now,” said John Farrell, “is (come up with) a gameplan and he executes it. His execution has been outstanding. He's pitching with average velocity, but his location is tremendous. He knows when to elevate, when to use breaking balls in certain counts that have worked to his advantage. He knows what he's doing.”
Said Porcello: “They're deep, but those three guys are always tough and you want to say that you're not going to let those guys beat you, but I can't pitch around three guys. So to not allow them to drive the ball is huge for us and that's always the key (in beating the Jays).”
2) On a night when the whole offense contributed, the Sox got some help from some who had been slumping.
Xander Bogaerts came into the game just 4-for-23 on the current road trip, but had a single and homer. Jackie Bradley Jr. was 5-for-21 on the trip, but had a walk, single and a double. And Brock Holt, who was just 3-for-14 on the trip, chipped in with a double and scored two runs.
That enabled the Red Sox to get contributions from up-and-down the lineup, with every member of the starting lineup collecting at least one hit and six of the nine producing an extra-base hit and six of the nine knokcing in at least one run.
When the Sox are getting offense from every spot in the order, it makes it easier to reach double-figures in runs -- as the Sox did for the third time in seven games on this road trip.
3) In a one-game snapshot, the Red Sox and Blue Jays looked like two teams heading in opposite directions.
No one is suggesting that a two-game lead with 22 games to play -- and five more head-to-head games remaining -- means the A.L. East race is over.
But it wasn't hard to see one team surging and the other stumbling at Rogers Centre.
For the Red Sox, the win made them 5-2 on the current road trip and, in a larger sample size, 18-9 in their last 27. The starting pitching was again superb, the baserunning was aggressive and the offense was explosive.
Contrast that to the Jays, who have lost six of their last seven, and watched what was a two-game lead at the start of the month turn into a two-game deficit in the span of about 10 days.
Marco Estrada, the Jays starter, didn't get out of the third inning, and of the six Toronto relievers who followed him to the mound, only two left without having allowed at least one run. Neither of the pitchers unscored upon pitched more than two-thirds of an inning.
And it wasn't just the poor pitching. The Jays were sloppy, committing two officially scored errors, but contributing a handful of other mistakes in the field.