Morrow takes another beating

Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow reacts after giving up a run against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in...

Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow reacts after giving up a run against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., Sep. 13, 2011. (ADAM HUNGER/Reuters)

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:50 PM ET

BOSTON - Every February, upwards of 2,000 hopefuls head to MLB training camps, eager to start a new season.

On that opening day, not one of them, especially those lucky enough to make it onto one of the 30 team rosters, thinks ‘Wow. I can’t wait until September when we’ve got a chance to play spoiler.’

Unfortunately, that’s as close as most of them will come to meaningful September baseball. It’s definitely as close as the Toronto Blue Jays will get to the postseason this year, and they have ample opportunity in the next two weeks to have an impact on a couple of fronts, starting with the Boston Red Sox.

Tuesday night at Fenway Park, it was the Red Sox who made the impact, pounding first Jays starter Brandon Morrow then a succession of young relievers on their way to an 18-6 victory. Boston snapped a five-game losing streak that had seen their once nine-game lead in the American League wildcard race reduced to three games.

Morrow’s season continues to drift from bad to worse. In 5 1/3 innings, he gave up seven hits, a pair of home runs and seven runs overall (five earned). In his last five starts, Morrow has been nicked for 36 hits and 27 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings, producing four losses and a no-decision with a 9.47 ERA.

“I feel strong, I feel good. I don’t have any issues with that,” said Morrow.

“I just have an issue with (the Red Sox). I don’t know what it is. I make good pitch after good pitch and then miss location and they kill it. They have ruined my year. They killed me four times.

“Minus those four starts against them, I shave a point off my ERA and I would be a quarter point better that I was last year.”

In four starts against Boston this year, Morrow has given up 26 earned runs in 19 innings. Peel those Boston numbers off his record, and he has a 4.26 ERA instead of the 5.13 that sits beside his name.

“They’re in our division,” said Morrow. “They’re a team I’m going to have to face every year so I’m going to have to figure out a way to have some quality starts against them.”

Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia provided all the one-two punch the Red Sox needed at the top of the order. They combined for eight runs, eight hits, three homers (two by Pedroia) and eight RBI.

J.P. Arencibia, with a three-run homer, and Jose Bautista, with a two-run shot, both off Boston starter and game winner Tim Wakefield, accounted for all the Toronto offence.

For Wakefield, it was his 200th career victory. He joins a club of 88 pitchers in all of baseball history to accomplish that feat, though he brings the highest career ERA of any of those 88 (4.41) to the elite club.

“Early on we were in a see-saw battle through the fourth. I thought we had some good at-bats against (Wakefield),” said Jays manager John Farrell. “We’re in a one-run game but the four-run sixth spread things open, then it got away from us late.”

The Jays gave away a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning when, with two out and the bases loaded, Josh Reddick hit a ground ball that first baseman David Cooper made a good play on, but threw too high to Morrow covering first, allowing Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez to score.

In the top of the second, with Cooper on second and Brett Lawrie on first, Arencibia hit the first pitch he saw to the top of the wall in left. Umpire Todd Tichenor immediately signalled home run. Boston manager Terry Francona asked the umpires to check the video to be sure. The homer was confirmed.

In the third, Eric Thames singled then Bautista lined a 2-2 pitch off the top of left field foul pole for his 42nd homer, a two-run shot to give Toronto a 5-4 lead.

That lasted until the bottom of the fourth when, with two out, Ellsbury and Pedroia hit back-to-back homers to retake the lead.

Jays reliever Luis Perez was the first reliever in after Morrow left in the top of the sixth but Perez couldn’t get anybody out. Joel Carreno, Brad Mills, Danny Farquhar and Chad Beck followed him to the mound. Only Beck had a clean line, facing just one batter.

“This is one of the more pressure-filled ballparks that our game has to offer,” said Farrell when asked about the difficulty faced by his young relievers. “They have a very capable offence and when you don’t make good pitches, we saw what they are capable of.”

New Hampshire loses

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats came from behind to take the lead three times Tuesday, but still lost the opening game Double-A Eastern League final when Richmond scored twice in the ninth to win 10-9. Moises Sierra hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to put the Cats ahead 9-8 but Tyler Stromsmoe hit a two-run homer for Richmond in the ninth to win it.

Nestor Molina is scheduled to pitch Wednesday for the Fisher Cats at home in Game 2.


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