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Closing Time: No support for Jake Peavy as Red Sox waste chances, fall to Blue Jays

08.15.13 at 9:55 pm ET
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Jake Peavy gave the Red Sox a strong chance to leave Toronto with a series win, but the offense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain, going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss.

Peavy dueled with his former White Sox teammate, Mark Buehrle, into the seventh inning. Peavy had the more impressive outing overall, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks. But Buehrle limited the damage the Sox could do with runners on, holding them to one run despite giving up 10 hits and two walks.

Despite the disappointing ending, the start was was a nice bounce back for Peavy after a rough outing on August 9, in which he gave up six runs over five innings in a 9-6 loss to the Royals. In three starts with the Sox, he’s now thrown 18 innings, striking out 11 and walking three.

Between the bottom of the third and the bottom of the sixth, just one runner reached base against Peavy. After allowing that lone single to J.P. Arencibia, Peavy struck out Kevin Pillar swinging on three pitches to end the fifth inning and retired the next three consecutive batters. He only ran into trouble in the seventh, after Jose Bautista reached base to start the inning and the Jays followed that with two singles to chase him from the game. (Will Middlebrooks was originally charged with an error that allowed Bautista to reach base, but the ruling was later overturned, giving Bautista a single.)

The Sox threatened to score multiple times, notably when singles from Stephen Drew and Ryan Lavarnway put runners on first and third to start the sixth inning, but Buehrle struck out Daniel Nava and Middlebrooks, then got a groundout to end the inning. They also left two runners on base in the eighth after falling behind 2-1.

Here’s a look at what else went right and wrong for the Sox.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Middlebrooks, who went 1-for-4 with a single, has now hit in every game since returning to the Sox. But he was partially responsible for the turn the seventh inning took: Bautista, who led off the inning, hit a grounder to third that slipped under Middlebrooks’ glove. Peavy then gave up singles to Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie, the latter of which scored Bautista to tie the game.

Moreover, Middlebrooks’ inability to drive in a runner from third with one out in the seventh prevented the Sox from gaining an insurance run (at a time when they led, 1-0). That failure proved costly when the Jays pushed ahead with their two-run seventh.

Jacoby Ellsbury ended his streak of hitting safely in 16 straight games against the Jays with an 0-for-4 night, though he walked once. He struck out with two runners on in the eighth, ending one of the Sox’ many potential scoring threats.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

Daniel Nava, who scored the Sox’ lone run, is hitting .412 since returning from paternity leave on August 8, going 7-for-17 in those six games. He went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles on Thursday.

After doubling to left, Nava advanced to third and scored when Ellsbury reached on a fielder’s choice. The Jays could have turned an inning-ending double play, but Munenori Kawasaki‘s throw to Jose Reyes at second was high, and by the time Reyes came down with the ball, Ellsbury had reached and Nava had scored.

In the eighth, Nava drove a fastball over the middle of the plate to deep center field for his second double, but he was stranded there when Ellsbury struck out to end the inning.

Dustin Pedroia also went 3-for-4, enjoying the most success against Buehrle of any of the Sox. It was Pedroia’s first three-hit night since June 28, also against Toronto. He’s been cold at the plate in August, but he raised his average in the month to .276 from .241 on Thursday.

Pedroia also nearly scored the game’s first run on a single by Jonny Gomes in the first inning, but Kevin Pillar made a spot-on throw from left field to nab him at the plate.

Craig Breslow inherited a tough situation in the seventh, entering the game with runners on first and third and nobody out. He retired the side in order, giving up a sacrifice fly that scored Edwin Encarnacion but getting out of the inning with the Sox down just one run.

That was Breslow’s 10th consecutive appearance, dating back to July 22 and spanning 9 2/3 innings, without giving up an earned run (as Peavy was responsible for Encarnacion).

Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, jake peavy, mark buehrle, Will Middlebrooks
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