Sinking Red Sox stymied

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

Johnny Damon left the Rogers Centre last night with his normally long-flowing locks knotted up in a ponytail. Maybe a change in hair styles will change his team's fate.

The defending champion Boston Red Sox are looking for any kind of edge to break out of their current swoon, one that includes a three-game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays.

In the process, the Sox were very complimentary of a Toronto team that leapfrogged Boston into a second-place tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East.

"When things don't go well, rather than me pointing fingers, let's give (Toronto credit). They seriously outplayed us in all aspects and that's why they won all three games," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after watching his team drop a 8-1 decision.

Catcher Jason Varitek offered high praise for the Jays.

"They've been a very solid team for a long time," he said. "They just haven't played like it until now."

OLERUD CALLED UP

The Red Sox plummeted into fourth spot heading into their three-game set against the Yankees this weekend at Yankee Stadium. Waiting for them in the Bronx will be Randy Johnson, who gets the start tonight against Boston's TimWakefield.

At least their roster will be bolstered by a familiar face in the form of former Jays first baseman John Olerud, who will join the Red Sox in New York today after his contract was purchased from triple-A Pawtucket.

Olerud, who spent last season with the Yankees, tore ligaments in his left foot during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox last fall and underwent off-season surgery. The Sox decided to take a calculated gamble on the veteran stringbean and signed him to a split contract earlier this month, a deal that includes a major-league salary of about $750,000 US.


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