TORONTO – In a wild, unpredictable game that pressed more than a dozen pitchers into action, the Toronto Blue Jays did everything but score the one run they needed most Monday night, falling 13-12 at home to the Boston Red Sox.
It was the team’s third straight loss, coming at the end of a game that was also the team’s highest-scoring of the season. It was also Toronto’s longest outing – at four hours three minutes – and represented the most runs the team has surrendered in a single game in 2010.
Former Blue Jay Marco Scutaro scored four runs for the Red Sox, who were also powered by a four-RBI performance from catcher Jason Varitek. Jose Bautista smacked a three-run home run for Toronto, highlighting a season-high six-run inning in the third, but it was not enough to heal the wounds opened by Blue Jays starter Dana Eveland.
The defeat dropped the Blue Jays to 10-10, leaving their record at .500 for the first time since the second game of the season. Paid attendance was announced as 13,847, which was actually smaller than the crowd Toronto drew for its series finale against the Kansas City Royals last week (15,577).
For the three-plus innings he worked, Eveland looked as though he might have been the most popular player on the field. Everyone seemed to drop by the mound for a chat, from the catcher to the pitching coach and the third baseman, but the left-hander couldn’t have enjoyed much of what they had to say.
Eveland has a history of struggling against the Red Sox, and Monday night proved to no different. He allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in an abbreviated appearance, a performance that also included a wild pitch.
It was the first unquestioned bomb of his Blue Jay career, one he started with a franchise record earlier this month. Eveland pitched 11.1 scoreless innings over his first two starts with Toronto to post the longest such streak in team history, and arrived at the stadium Monday with a 2-0 record.
He loaded the bases with his first 12 pitches, but managed to escape the first inning with a 1-0 deficit. Eveland, acquired from the Oakland A’s over the off-season, was already carrying a 17.36 lifetime earned-run average against Boston.
His trouble continued into the third inning. Eveland was touched for four runs, and with every pitch, he seemed to dig himself deeper – allowing a double and a single to lead off the inning, and compounding that with a walk to batter No. 3.
Varitek singled to centre to score Scutaro and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Eveland surrendered a double to Adrian Beltre to allow two more Red Sox to cross the plate and assume a 5-0 lead.
Toronto exploded in response, sparked by a Fred Lewis triple to lead off the bottom of the third. Aaron Hill singled to score Lewis, and scored himself at the end of a two-run double by first baseman Lyle Overbay.
Bautista gave the Blue Jays their first lead two batters later, with a three-run shot that landed in the second deck in left field.
Toronto manager Cito Gaston opted to leave Eveland in the game to begin the fourth, and his faith was soon betrayed. The pitcher walked Scutaro and allowed Pedroia to reach on a fielder’s choice – and was finally off the field by the time both came around to score.
Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was also chased from the game in the fourth inning, having allowed eight runs on nine hits. Boston was into its third pitcher – Scott Schoeneweis, who ended up recording the win – when Adam Lind singled Lewis home to tie the game at 9-9 in the fifth.
Both teams changed pitchers, but neither could contain the parade across the plate. The Blue Jays replaced Eveland with Jeremy Accardo, and rotated him out for Shawn Camp, who was followed by Casey Janssen.
None of them could stop Boston.
Janssen was pressed into duty with the Red Sox on a roll again in the middle of a four-run sixth inning, allowing two doubles and a single that gave the visitors a 13-9 lead.
Toronto scored two in the eighth to close the gap to a single run, at 13-12, but that was where the parade ended.
NOTES: Toronto’s series-opener against Boston kicked off a seven-day, seven-game homestand for the Blue Jays, who will welcome the Oakland A’s to Rogers Centre beginning on Thursday … World Series hero Joe Carter has announced he will host the “Joe Carter and Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament” on June 23. Proceeds will go to the Children’s Aid Foundation. Voluble NBA personality Charles Barkley and retired Boston Bruins legend Ray Bourque will be among the notable participants. “Well,” Carter said with a smile, “the one thing it means is it means I get a chance to play golf – that’s the whole thing.”