Lester and Sox crushed by the Blue Jays
After scuffling with the Red Sox all season long, Lyle Overbay hopes that Toronto’s 16-run effort against Boston will be a turning point for the Blue Jays.
Overbay hit two homers and drove in a career-high seven runs as the Toronto Blue Jays battered Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester en route to a 16-2 victory Friday night.
“They’ve been kicking our butt,” Overbay said. “We’ve been struggling really bad against these guys. Hopefully, this will bring some confidence because I think everyone had good at bats,” said Overbay, who was 4-for-5 with three runs scored.
Boston had won nine of the first 12 meetings between the teams this season. The Red Sox also lost second baseman Dustin Pedroia Friday with soreness in the foot he broke in late June, a difficult blow for Boston as it tries to reach the postseason.
Pedroia spent seven weeks on the DL after he fouled a ball off his left foot on June 25 at San Francisco. He played in two minor league rehab games last weekend, showing no signs of problems.
But the 2008 AL MVP experienced significant pain after going 1 for 3 in Boston’s 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday and was scratched from Thursday’s lineup.
He probably wouldn’t have been able to do much to slow down Overbay, who had the ninth multi-homer game of his career and second this season.
Overbay’s second homer chased Lester (13-8) after 2-plus innings. He surrendered eight hits, three walks and nine runs. His previous low point came against Tampa Bay last season when gave up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings.
“He left a couple of pitches up. It’s not typical of him,” said Overbay, who had the ninth multi-homer game of his career and second this season. “You have to make him pay for that.”
Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 38th homer in the seventh. John McDonald also homered for the Blue Jays. John Buck, activated from the disabled list prior to the game, was 4-for-5 with two RBI and four runs.
“Good night for the managers and coaches to kind of lay back and relax a little bit,” said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston.
It was the most runs given up by the Red Sox this season.
Brett Cecil (10-6) picked up only his third victory in 11 starts since June 15 for the Blue Jays. He worked 6 2-3 scoreless innings before giving up a two-run double to Dusty Brown in the seventh. Jesse Carlson and Shawn Camp finished the game for Toronto.
Lester’s troubles started with the game’s first batter, Fred Lewis, who reached on a walk before Escobar’s perfectly executed bunt base hit down the third base line. After Vernon Wells walked to load the bases, Buck put the Blue Jays on top, 2-0, with a hit. Overbay’s homer later in the inning gave Toronto a 5-0 lead.
“He walked the first hitter, Escobar gets a bunt down and he’s pitching out of the stretch right away,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He just didn’t command really anything. It was a tough go right from the beginning.”
The Blue Jays got a sacrifice fly from Bautista in the second inning to increase their lead to 6-0. In the third, Buck singled and Aaron Hill walked to set up Overbay’s second homer of the game.
“It’s tough. We’re getting down to (crunch) time here and that right there doesn’t really help us,” said Lester. “It’s going to be a long five days to get back up on there (mound) and hopefully do a little better.”
Scott Atchison replaced Lester and gave up two runs in 2 1-3 innings. He left the game after being struck in the leg by a Travis Snider liner.
Michael Bowden, Manny Delcarmen and Tim Wakefield also pitched for the Red Sox, who have lost two in a row after winning the first two games of a nine-game homestand.
NOTES: Overbay had six RBI in a game on July 23, 2005 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. … Bautista snapped an 0-for-12 slump with his homer. … David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a fourth inning double. Overbay hit two homers in a game on May 29 against Baltimore.