|Closing Time: Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2||05.12.10 at 4:08 pm ET|
Tim Wakefield was outstanding in his return to the rotation, but he continued to run in place in his chase of Red Sox history.
The right-hander tossed seven innings while allowing three runs, but he remained winless in the 2010 campaign thanks to his team’s inability to score against Blue Jays starter Shaun Marcum. The Sox had just two hits against Marcum in the starter’s seven innings of work. With Toronto’s 3-2 win, the knuckleballer remains stuck on 175 victories in his Sox career, 17 behind both Cy Young and Roger Clemens for the most in team history.
Wakefield baffled the entire Toronto lineup with one exception. Jays right fielder Travis Snider went 2-for-3 with a double and homer, providing all the offense his team would need on a day when the Sox put just one runner in scoring position through the first eight innings. The team’s two-run rally in the ninth fell just short.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
–Tim Wakefield was tremendous in his first start since April 25. He logged seven innings, allowing just three runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. The only Blue Jays hitter who did any damage against him was Snider, who had an RBI double and a two-run homer to account for all of the Toronto offense.
With a punchout of Vernon Wells at the end of the fourth inning, Wakefield notched career strikeout No. 2,000. He is one of just four active pitchers (along with Jamie Moyer, Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez) to reach the milestone.
–David Ortiz collected both of the Sox’ hits against Marcum. His 2-for-4 afternoon pushed his average up to .200, marking the first time all year that he has been above the Mendoza line. In May, Ortiz is now hitting .310 with a .999 OPS and three homers. Ortiz’ day finished on a sour note, however, as he was called out on strikes on a full-count pitch by umpire Dale Scott on what appeared to be a bad call.
–Despite the loss on Wednesday, the Sox concluded their 10-game homestand with a 7-3 record, allowing the team to improve from three games under .500 to one over. Since April 20, the Sox are 14-8.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–Wakefield received absolutely no offensive support, resulting in the 45th time in his career when he turned in a quality start (6+ innings, 3 or fewer runs) only to suffer a defeat.
No small amount of credit belonged to Jays starter Shaun Marcum, who left the Sox unbalanced despite a fastball that only sat in the high-80s. Marcum mixed his fastball, cutter, curve and changeup to get one feeble swing after another.
His effort created a familiar storyline, as Wakefield has found himself ill supported in his starts this year. Wakefield has been backed by 3.1 runs per nine innings during his five starts this year; no other Sox pitcher has had fewer than 4.9 runs of support per nine innings.
–The Sox had exactly one scoring threat against Marcum. In the bottom of the second inning, Kevin Youkilis led off with a walk and was singled to third with one out by David Ortiz. That brought Adrian Beltre to the plate. Though Beltre entered the game with a .467/.556/1.000 line against Marcum, he flied to shallow center, and when Jeremy Hermida popped out to second, the Sox’ only opportunity with runners in scoring position was snuffed out.
Beltre went 1-for-4 on the day, and 1-for-11 in the Toronto series.
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