BOSTON - After being swept aside in the Bronx with the ease of taking out the trash the Jays headed to Beantown with their tail between their legs.
The journey from New York to Boston is not a long one but for the Blue Jays something magical occurred along the way.
Given up for dead, the Jays, perhaps energized by the 10-player trade that GM Alex Anthopoulos made on Friday, came alive in the tough and unfriendly environment of Fenway Park and pulled off a stunner by sweeping the three-game series.
The Jays saved their best for Sunday against Boston ace Jon Lester, a lefty who has owned them of late. They jumped on him for five runs in the opening frame, four more in the second and cruised from there to a 15-7 rout where they piled up 18 hits.
“Our team has been able to bounce back,” said J.P. Arencibia, who contributed a three-run homer in the second. “It’s pretty crazy. When we’ve gotten swept we’ve been able to either bounce back with a sweep or win a series.
“It’s kind of a credit to our pitchers, to keep us in the game, and the hitters to go out there and do what we need to do.”
Travis Snider ended Lester’s day in the fifth with a two-run blast to centre field, his first homer since his summoning from Las Vegas on Friday.
The 11 runs and four homers that Lester surrendered were career highs.
“To come out with a sweep is really something to build off of,” said Snider. “It’s a good group of guys who play for each other.
“The motto here, we’ve got a bunch of grinders and we’re going to keep going and keep fighting until the ninth inning comes and the last pitch is thrown.”
With the three-game sweep, the Jays moved back over the .500 mark to 48-47 and dumped the Red Sox into the basement of the AL East. It marked their first three-game sweep in Boston since Sept. 28-30, 2009 and increased their record over the Red Sox this season to 7-5.
Coupled with Tampa’s loss to Seattle, the Jays sit just a half-game back of the third-place Rays.
“It was a good offensive day and the way the first inning was completed, it seemed like it was going to quickly shape up to who could score the most runs,” manager John Farrell said. “Fortunately we put together a lot of good at-bats and we executed in many different ways whether it was safety squeeze, sac bunt, moving guys over, sac fly.
“Obviously we drove some balls out of the ball park but it was just a very good offensive day and a very good weekend considering the way we came out of New York and the loss of Jose (Bautista). Guys have bounced back and we’ve had a very good weekend here.”
The Jays didn’t waste any time getting to Lester, who came into the game having posted a 4-1 record with a 2.78 ERA against them in his previous seven starts.
Brett Lawrie greeted Lester’s first pitch by drilling it over the Green Monster in left for his ninth home run of the season and the Jays were off and running.
“That was big obviously against a pitcher like that,” Arencibia said of Lawrie’s homer. “You get that first pitch and he hits it out of the park, it’s tough to rebound from. We just kept on putting them (hits) together and were able to score nine runs on a guy like that, that’s pretty tough.”
Yunel Escobar followed Lawrie’s blast with a walk and Colby Rasmus reached after dropping a perfect bunt down the third-base line.
Edwin Encarnacion’s ground-rule double into the seats in right brought in their second run and J.P. Arencibia made it 3-0 with a RBI ground out.
The Jays weren’t finished as Rajai Davis’ doubled home Encarnacion and after moving up on a wild pitch, Davis scored from third on a beautifully executed safety squeeze by Jeff Mathis.
After Boston rallied for three runs in the bottom of the first, the Jays kept pouring it on in the second as with two on (two walks) and two out, Arencibia hit a three-run bomb into the seats atop the Monster. It was his 15th home run.
Davis followed with a rocket over the Green Monster and its seats to up the Jays lead to 9-3.
The Jays have an off day Monday before a tough six-game series at home against a surprising Oakland squad and a surging Detroit Tigers.
It never gets easy.