Andrew Cashner's Red Sox debut was no thing of beauty.
The burly (6-6, 235), bearded right-hander, acquired in a trade Saturday from the last-place Orioles, had beaten this same Toronto Blue Jays team in his last start for Baltimore on July 6.
Perhaps, he said after the game, that was the problem.
It had been 10 days between starts because of the All-Star break and he said it threw his routine off.
“I was just more rusty and was out of my routine,” Cashner told reporters in the Fenway Park clubhouse after he went 5-plus innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits, including two home runs that gave up Red Sox leads, in a 10-4 loss. “I’m looking forward to getting back in the routine next week. I felt like they did make an adjustment on me. That’s what good teams do.”
While it may be difficult to categorize the Jays (36-60) as a good team, they did take the newest Sox starter deep at key times.
After Xander Bogaerts had given the Sox a first-inning lead with his 21st homer, Cashner gave that lead back and more when he allowed a three-run blast by Teoscar Hernandez to center in the second.
After the Sox had rallied to tie it a 4 in the fifth, Justin Smoak led off the sixth with a solo shot over the bullpens in right.
His manager was quick to point out the trend.
"We didn’t keep the ball in the ballpark, and that’s very important," Alex Cora told reporters. "The changeup to Teoscar, he got to it. Then the breaking ball to Smoak after we came back. He made some adjustments, but the changeup wasn’t as effective as before."
Cashner called the Smoak shot "probably the toughest blow of the game."
"I didn’t think I was very sharp," said the pitcher who went 9-3 with a 3.53 ERA for a 28-win Oriole team (Baltimore has won 11 of his starts). "I didn’t really command my off-speed very well. I didn’t really do a lot of things well, but I felt like I kept us in the game. It wasn’t very good."
The positive for Cashner, the Fenway fans and his new teammates' ability to swing the bats.
"It’s great," he said. "The fans have been great to me so far since I’ve been here. This is a great hitting team. I feel like if you keep the game close you’ve got a chance every night."
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