Imagine what the Boston Red Sox could’ve done to Blue Jays pitching if they were well rested.
David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, Jason Varitek homered and drove in four runs, and the sleep-deprived Red Sox beat Toronto 16-4 Saturday for their season-high eighth straight win.
The offensive outburst came in a day game following a night game Friday. The Red Sox arrived in Toronto early Friday morning after their matchup against the Yankees was delayed nearly 3 1/2 hours Thursday night.
”This team’s tired though, too,” Varitek said. ”There’s a point some of those later (at-bats) it’s a grind, we’re still playing catch up.”
John Lackey (4-5) made up for a terrible first start in Toronto this season. He delivered six strong innings in his second start since going on the disabled list with a strained elbow after giving up nine runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Blue Jays on May 11.
”I felt good, I felt like it was a step forward, still building some arm strength,” Lackey said. ”I thought the guys swung the bats pretty good, made it pretty easy on me.”
The right-hander was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks while having to wait through two innings in which the Red Sox batted around.
”I’ll sit there all day if they want to keep swinging like that. That’s fine,” he said. ”That’s not something I’m ever going to complain about, for sure.”
Boston manager Terry Francona was pleased with Lackey’s performance that included a season-high eight strikeouts.
”He had some depth to his pitches,” Francona said. ”You don’t ever hear me sit here and worry about strikeouts, I care about them getting out. But I thought the swings and misses were good.
Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs and had three hits, and Marco Scutaro had four hits while scoring three times.
”When everybody’s hitting, it’s kind of contagious,” said Scutaro.
Every Boston starter drove in at least one run as the Blue Jays allowed their most runs in a game this season.
Things got so bad for Toronto, utility man Mike McCoy pitched the ninth inning. McCoy, who had started at second base in place of Aaron Hill, pitched a perfect inning.
”You just try not to do too much and kind of stay within yourself and throwing softly is more effective against big-league hitters who are used to seeing 90 (mph) and I’m throwing 72, 73, hitters get themselves out usually,” McCoy said. ”I threw a couple of sliders just to mix it up and get them out front a little bit. … It’s pretty exciting, except for the loss.”
Varitek ended a horrible afternoon for Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow (2-4) with a three-run home run in the top of the fifth that made it 9-2.
Morrow gave up a career-worst nine earned runs, 10 hits and three walks in just 4 1-3 innings, the 26-year-old’s shortest outing of the season.
Blue Jays trainers checked on Morrow in the top of the second after he was hit on the back of his right leg by a line drive off the bat of ex-Blue Jay Scutaro.
Reliever Jason Frasor took over with one out in the fifth but fared little better.
He surrendered a hit and a walk before Ortiz hit his 16th homer of the season that stretched Boston’s lead to 12-2.
Boston took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third as five straight Red Sox reached with one out, batting around for the first time.
Back-to-back singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedroia set up Adrian Gonzalez, who roped a run-scoring double.
The hit gave the first baseman at least one RBI in eight straight games, extending a new career high he set on Friday when Boston won the series opener 5-1.
Morrow then loaded the bases by intentionally walking Ortiz – after a first-inning single he was 5 for 8 in his career against the right-hander – to face Jed Lowrie, who had never faced Morrow before popping up to end the first.
The move backfired. Morrow hit Lowrie with a pitch to force in a run that made it 2-0.
Carl Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to left before Scutaro hit an RBI single up the middle.
Pedroia had a one-out RBI double in the fourth and two-run double in the eighth. Rajai Davis snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a two-run double that cut Boston’s lead to 5-2 in the fourth.
Edwin Encarnacion’s second home run of the season, a two-run shot off Lackey in the sixth, scored Toronto’s only other runs.
NOTES: Francona said that with a scheduled off day on Monday, he rested Kevin Youkilis Saturday so the third baseman could have extra rest. ”He’s just a little beat up, day game after a night game,” Francona said. Shortstop Yunel Escobar returned to Toronto’s lineup after missing two games because of soreness in his left quadriceps. Saturday’s announced crowd of 39,437 marked the first time Toronto drew more than 30,000 since their season-opening series against Minnesota. Ellsbury’s third-inning single extended his hitting streak to nine games. … AL home run leader Jose Bautista failed to homer for a 13th straight game, equaling his longest drought since a 13-game run in June of 2010. Last year’s major league-leader with 54 home runs has also gone 11 games without an extra-base hit. McCoy became the fifth position player in Blue Jays franchise history to pitch in a game, the first since Frank Menechino on Aug. 28, 2004. Varitek, 39, had his first four-RBI game since April 26, 2010, in a 13-12 win over the Blue Jays in Toronto.