Another curveball as Jays win

Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez pitches to Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox last night at...

Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez pitches to Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox last night at Fenway Park. Alvarez was injured in the game, becoming the fourth Jays starting pitcher to go down in the last two weeks.

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:15 AM ET

BOSTON - If you thought the news couldn’t get worse for the Toronto Blue Jays, think again.

Henderson Alvarez became the fourth Toronto starting pitcher in the last two weeks to be removed from a game with an injury Monday night, joining Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison. It’s not yet clear if he will be joining them on the disabled list but the expectation is the team will proceed with caution.

Alvarez was pitching to Adrian Gonzalez in the bottom of the sixth inning when he called manager John Farrell and trainer George Poulis to the mound, with the Jays leading 7-5, on their way to a 9-6 victory over the Red Sox. Farrell signalled immediately to the bullpen and removed Alvarez from the game.

“When he went out for the sixth inning, he had trouble getting loose,” said Farrell. “He tightened up a little so, as a precautionary move, we got him out of the game. He’ll be sent for an MRI (Tuesday in Florida) to rule out any structural issues.

“Given all the changes to the rotation because of injury, we’re hopeful of the best.”

Earlier, in the third inning, Poulis and Farrell had gone out to check on Alvarez when he was clutching at his lower back. After throwing a couple of warmup pitches, he was allowed to continue.

“When he tried to field a single up the middle, he felt something in his lower back but checked out fine,” said Farrell.

Jose Bautista belted a two-run homer, his league-leading 24th, in the top of the seventh to extend Toronto’s lead to 9-5 just a few moments before the game went into a rain delay.

After a close to two-hour delay, Francisco Cordero, Darren Oliver and Casey Janssen kept the Sox at bay, with David Ortiz’s second homer off Oliver in the eighth being the only damage.

If Alvarez has to go on the disabled list, it will leave Ricky Romero as the only active member of a rotation without a hint of health problems just 15 days ago.

“We don’t anticipate (Alvarez going to the DL) but we’ll take every precautionary measure we can to ensure that," said Farrell. "His health is first and foremost. But the way he checked out, the range of motion, not feeling any additional stiffness, initially we’re optimistic.”

Morrow went down with an oblique strain on June 11. Drabek and Hutchison both suffered elbow injuries later that same week. Drabek has already undergone Tommy John surgery and Hutchison is in a no-throw period prior to rehabbing his sprained elbow.

Toronto put Boston starter Felix Doubront up against the ropes in the first inning, combining Brett Lawrie’s leadoff single with Colby Rasmus’s 14th homer. Bautista reached on an error by third baseman Will Middlebrooks and then scored on a booming double by Edwin Encarnacion. Rajai Davis delivered a fourth run by hustling down the line to beat the throw on the back end of a potential double play.

Staked to a four-run lead before he made his first pitch, Alvarez wasted no time in spending half that currency, allowing a one-out double to Dustin Pedroia and then a two-run homer to Ortiz, his first of two on the night. Toronto got one of those runs back when Rasmus cashed in a Ben Francisco leadoff double with an RBI-single.

Through no fault of Alvarez, the Red Sox scored twice in the third to cut Toronto’s lead to 5-4. With two out, Pedroia singled, then stole second, called safe on a play in which Yunel Escobar appeared to tag him out. When Pedroia leapt to his feet and started for third then quickly thought better, Escobar unleashed a panicky throw that wasn’t close to anyone, allowing Pedroia to advance. Ortiz walked and then Pedroia scored when Kelly Johnson booted Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s grounder. Adrian Gonzalez delivered Ortiz with Boston’s fourth run on a single before Alvarez got out of the jam.

The Red Sox tied the score in the fourth, combining Cody Ross’s double with Ryan Kalish’s single.

The Jays counter-punched in the sixth when Francisco doubled to dead centre, followed by J.P. Arencibia’s 10th homer, taking a 7-5 lead. It was that blow that allowed Alvarez to win his first game since May 10. In the intervening seven starts, he had been 0-4 and the Jays were winless.

“I’m not too worried” said Alvarez, through interpreter Luis Rivera. “Because of what has been happening I was trying to be cautious. I felt fine after the game.”

Just a few moments before the skies opened up, Bautista laced a 1-2 pitch from reliever Matt Albers on a line into the Monster seats in left with Colby Rasmus aboard to give Toronto its second four-run advantage of the night.

The Blue Jays are already reeling from the losses of the first three starters, patching and filling as best they can. Scott Richmond has been summoned from Las Vegas to join the team here. In addition, 49-year-old Jamie Moyer has agreed to a minor-league deal with Vegas with no guarantees. He’ll make some starts down there and then will be evaluated.

If the Jays need to go deeper, they might also take a look at Chad Jenkins in New Hampshire.

Aaron Laffey is scheduled to face the Red Sox tonight, with Romero set to go on Wednesday. They then return home where Brett Cecil will face the Angels in the first of four games this weekend. Jesse Chavez will pitch the second game and from there it’s anybody’s guess right now.


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