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Closing Time: Red Sox nearly no-hit, Eduardo Rodriguez (4 HRs) knocked around, rally falls short in loss to Blue Jays 06.05.16 at 4:21 pm ET
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It was a tough day for the David Ortiz and the Red Sox offense on Sunday. (Winslow Townson-USA Today Sports)

It was a tough day for the David Ortiz and the Red Sox offense on Sunday. (Winslow Townson-USA Today Sports)

Well that was a weird game.

On one side, Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez allowed four hits — all homers — and failed to record a strikeout for just the second time in his career. On the other, Jays starter Marco Estrada took a no-hitter into the eighth before Chris Young ended it with a one-out solo homer into the Monster seats.

But just as quickly as the Red Sox looked dead, they put the tying run on second base with two outs in the ninth before pinch hitter Marco Hernandez struck out to end it. The Sox scored three times in the ninth off of closer Roberto Osuna, but when it ended, the Jays had claimed a 5-4 victory to take two out of three.

“We continue to battle right through the final out,” said manager John Farrell. “We’re one swing of the bat away from tying that ballgame up, potentially going ahead. I love the fact that our guys don’t ever quit. They keep coming. There’s a tremendous amount of character in that room. You tip your hat to a quality start by Estrada, but still, we’re four outs from this one being over and against one of the better closers in the game, we took very good swings against a really good fastball and we had some momentum built late.”

The Red Sox haven’t been no-hit since April 22, 1993 by Seattle’s Chris Bosio. They last time they were no-hit at home was July 20, 1958 by Detroit’s Jim Bunning.

Estrada looked like he had a chance through seven, striking out four and walking three, aided by a pair of nice catches in center by Kevin Pillar, as well as a running over-the-shoulder grab by right fielder Jose Bautista to end the seventh.

But Young left no doubt with his blast. Estrada was lifted after allowing a leadoff single in the ninth in favor of closer Osuna, who allowed doubles to Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Hanley Ramirez, and singles to Bradley and Young before rallying from a 3-0 count to strike out Hernandez to end it.

On the other side, Rodriguez allowed home runs to Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Darwin Barney, and Russell Martin. Encarnacion’s was a two-run shot.

Though his velocity crept up to 93-94 mph, Rodriguez frequently found himself behind in the count as he nibbled at the corners, trying to keep the ball from the middle of the plate.

Closing Time note

The Blue Jays entered the game ranked fourth in the American League in strikeouts, but E-Rod didn’t manage one. His only other start without a K came last July in an 11-1 loss to the Angels when he didn’t finish the second inning.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— The Red Sox offense stagnated, remaining hitless until Young’s homer in the eighth. “Estrada kept us off balance,” Young said.

— E-Rod looked shaky, allowing a first-inning homer to Bautista and lacking a put-away pitch thereafter. He allowed four hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out none. “I feel like I missed the spot all four times — two with a changeup, two with a heater,” he said. “The Martin one was right in the middle. The third one, I feel like it was a good pitch. He just put a pretty good swing on it. That’s the whole thing — I just missed spots four times.”

— With two on via walk in the first leading off against Estrada, AL batting leader Xander Bogaerts chose to bunt. Lead runner Mookie Betts was cut down at third and the Red Sox didn’t sniff another rally until the eighth.

“He saw something there. He sees Dominguez playing back a little bit,” Farrell said. “Thought he might be able to put one down. I’m sure that if he were to revisit things, down a run, nobody out, he’s trying to move runners. He sees something there, but certainly not going to take the bat out of his hands.”

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— DH David Ortiz stroked his league-leading 26th double in the ninth to drive in the second Red Sox run.

— Young raised his average to .286 with his fourth homer of the year. He’s due for increased playing time with catcher Blake Swihart sidelined by a severe ankle sprain. “When you’re not starting you find yourself trying to playing manager in your head to see what kind of situation is coming up for you to bat, trying to get loose throughout game, try to pick opportunities you may go in the game,” Young said. “I’m happy about it, I’m happy about any opportunity I get, any time I’m playing, I’m a happy guy.”

— Relievers Heath Hembree and Clay Buchholz combined to throw 3 1/3 hitless innings, striking out five.

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Read More: Blue Jays, David Ortiz, eduardo rodriguez, Marco Estrada near no-hitter
Red Sox outfielder Chris Young breaks up no-hitter of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada with homer in 8th at 3:48 pm ET
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Marco Estrada

Marco Estrada

On an afternoon when Eduardo Rodriguez limited the Blue Jays to four hits, but all of them were home runs, the story became Jays starter Marco Estrada.

The right-hander no-hit the Red Sox for 7 1/3 innings before Chris Young broke it up with a solo homer to left as the Red Sox trailed 5-1.

The Red Sox haven’t been no-hit since April 22, 1993 by Seattle’s Chris Bosio. They last time they were no-hit at home was July 20, 1958 by Detroit’s Jim Bunning.

Estrada looked like he had a chance through seven, striking out four and walking three. He had been helped by a pair of nice catches in center by Kevin Pillar, as well as a running over-the-shoulder grab by right fielder Jose Bautista to end the seventh.

Rodriguez allowed home runs to Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Darwin Barney, and Russell Martin. Encarnacion’s was a two-run shot.

Read More: Blue Jays, Chris Young, Marco Estrada, No-Hitter
Closing Time: Red Sox offense silenced, pitching allows 2 more homers in loss to Blue Jays 06.04.16 at 12:55 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell argues an overturned balk with umpire Jerry Meals on Friday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

Red Sox manager John Farrell argues an overturned balk with umpire Jerry Meals on Friday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox are officially scuffling.

David Price allowed an early home run, Koji Uehara surrendered a late one, and the potent Red Sox offense was silenced for a night in a 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays that dropped the Sox back into a virtual tie for first place in the American League East.

Price served up a two-run homer to former teammate Edwin Encarnacion in the first and didn’t allow a run thereafter, exiting after seven innings. But Uehara allowed a two-run shot to Devon Travis in the eighth and that was more than enough for the Jays, who rode a strong start from knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and survived a ninth-inning rally that ended along with Xander Bogaerts’ 26-game hitting streak when the Red Sox shortstop struck out to end it for the team’s third straight loss and sixth in nine games.

“That’s what happens whenever you’re behind in the count to hitters like that,” Price said of Encarnacion’s decisive blow. “A 2-0 fastball that wasn’t located. That’s what good hitters do. They put good swings on bad pitches. It’s tough to put us in a hole 2-0 before we even get a chance to hit. Learn from it and get better.”

The Red Sox did nothing with the erratic Dickey, who walked five in 6 2/3 innings. He didn’t allow his first hit until David Ortiz led off the sixth with the first of his two doubles. But Ortiz was stranded, along with virtually every other baserunner. The Red Sox went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.

Their only runs came on a Mookie Betts walk, two ground outs, and a passed ball in the first, and on a Hanley Ramirez groundout in the eighth.

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Read More: al east, Blue Jays, David Price, Dustin Pedroia
Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. J.A. Happ 04.18.16 at 7:30 am ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz will take the hill Monday and try to give Red Sox fans something to cheer about in the annual Patriots Day morning start. He is set to face off against Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ.

Coming into his third start of the season, Buchholz does not exactly have momentum on his side. In each of his first two starts he allowed five runs. Looking specifically at his last start — April 12 against the Orioles — he was hit hard. He gave up five earned runs over five innings, allowing five hits (two home runs), walking three and striking out five. He took the loss, as the Orioles posted a 9-5 victory.

“I felt like I had good stuff,” Buchholz said after the loss. “I felt like I threw the ball pretty well tonight. Two home runs got me.”

In 27 career starts against the Blue Jays plus one relief appearance, Buchholz is 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.231 WHIP, recording 125 strikeouts and 66 walks in 174 2/3 innings.

Happ, who is back for his second stint in Toronto after pitching for the Mariners and Pirates last year, has been solid through two starts this season. The 10-year major league veteran picked up his first win of the season in his last outing on April 13 against the Yankees. He went six innings, scattering seven hits and allowing just one earned run. He walked three and struck out four in a game the Blue Jays won 7-2. He got out of several jams throughout the game, stranding seven Yankees runners.

“The best thing about tonight was being able to make some pitches in big situations,” Happ said afterward.

Added Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira: “I thought he pitched very well against us. He really mixed it up in and out, up and down, kept us off balance.”

Happ, 33, has made 10 appearances against the Red Sox, including nine starts, going 3-3 with a 4.15 ERA and 1.481 WHIP, recording 40 strikeouts and 28 walks in 52 innings.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Clay Buchholz, J.A. Happ, Red Sox
Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Steven Wright vs. Aaron Sanchez 04.17.16 at 8:26 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

The Red Sox will send knuckleballer Steven Wright to the hill Sunday afternoon opposite Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez in the third game of the teams’ four-game series at Fenway Park.

Wright faced the same potent Blue Jays lineup in his first start of the season on April 1. It also was his first career start against Toronto. Despite a solid outing, he came away with the loss. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (only one earned) on six hits, while walking three and striking out five. He kept the Red Sox in the game as long as he could, but the team could not get the bats going and went on to lose 3-0.

“Outstanding job on his part,” manager John Farrell said of Wright’s performance. “Kept us in the game into the seventh inning. He minimized the damage as much as possible in the first, but after that first inning, he settled in and controlled and commanded the knuckleball very well. He used his fastball at times to get ahead in the count, to get back into counts. But we ran into an outstanding pitching performance by [Marco] Estrada today.”

Sanchez will try to be the next Blue Jays pitcher to outduel Wright. He has been very effective in his two starts this season, posting an ERA of 1.38 and a WHIP of 0.846, but has yet to factor into a decision. In his last start on April 12 against the Yankees, Sanchez went six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out five and walked three in a game the Blue Jays would go on to lose, 3-2. He was solid for most of the game but struggled with his command at times, which resulted in a high pitch count.

“You don’t expect to be good in the major leagues going ball, ball, ball, then strike, strike, strike,” Sanchez said after the game. “Maybe I wasn’t getting calls, but at this level, you can’t let things like that get to you. I’ll learn from that for the next time.”

In 10 career appearances covering 19 2/3 innings against the Red Sox (including two starts), Sanchez is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.271 WHIP, recording 12 strikeouts and 18 walks.

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Read More: Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays, Red Sox, steven wright
Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: David Price vs. Marco Estrada 04.16.16 at 8:17 am ET
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David Price

David Price

Red Sox ace David Price will take the hill Saturday to face off against his former team, looking to pick up his second win of the season while opposing Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada.

Price came away with a no-decision in his last start against the Orioles. In the home opener at Fenway Park, he struggled to find a groove, lasting just five innings. He allowed five runs on five hits, walking two and striking out eight. The Sox would go on to lose the game when Craig Kimbrel allowed a three-run home run to Chris Davis in the ninth inning.

For the second straight start, Price had one inning in which he ran into trouble. In this case, it was the third inning when he allowed five runs, including a three-run home run to Mark Trumbo.

“It’s kind of been my Achilles’ heel — having that one bad inning,” Price said after the game. “That’s all it takes in this game. It can be one pitch, and today it was just that one bad inning.”

Price, who appeared in 11 games for the Blue Jays last season after being traded from the Tigers, has faced Toronto 21 times in his career, recording a 16-2 record, 2.41 ERA and 1.064 WHIP.

Estrada had no trouble in his last start against the Red Sox last Sunday. He shut out Boston through seven innings of work while allowing five hits, walking two and striking out eight in his season debut. The Blue Jays went on to win the game 3-0. Despite the dominant performance, Estrada said there still is room to grow.

“I feel pretty good,” Estrada said after the game. “Still a little off. Things are going to get better. Just not quite 100 percent with the feel for things but it’s really close.”

Said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia: “The three times I faced him, he didn’t give me one good pitch to hit. He was on the corners, his changeup was great.”

In four career starts against the Red Sox, the 32-year-old Estrada is 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.444 WHIP.

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Read More: Blue Jays, David Price, Marco Estrada, Red Sox
Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. R.A. Dickey 04.15.16 at 8:39 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

In a rematch of their duel last Saturday, Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello will face off against Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as the teams begin a four-game series.

In his first start of the season, Porcello came up victorious in a game the Red Sox won 8-4. He went six innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out seven. He struggled early but eventually settled down. The Red Sox bats kept him in the game and earned him a win, as they twice came back to gain the lead.

“With the lineup that we have, and the things that they’re doing right now, our job is to keep us in the game and pitch as deep as possible,” Porcello said after the win. “That’s it. That being said, you face some tough lineups, it can be a challenge, but we’ve got a great lineup and really really good defense, and that’s to our advantage.”

Said manager John Farrell: “After the first three innings, I thought he settled in. He stayed out of the plate much more consistently. Got a number of ground balls. I thought his sinker, at the bottom of the strike zone today, was as good as we’ve seen in quite some time. He did bend, but he didn’t break.”

In 12 career starts against the Blue Jays, Porcello is 5-7 with a 5.35 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 19 walks.

Dickey was hit hard by the Red Sox on Saturday in Toronto. He lasted five innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits. He walked two and struck out nine. Less than a week later, he faces the same lineup that roughed him up the first time around.

“If you wallow in it, it doesn’t help anybody,” Dickey said after the game. “So if there’s one thing that experience has taught me, it’s that you’ve got to turn the page quickly. Take what you can — bad and good — out of the outing and turn the page quickly. That’s what we need to do.”

In 17 career starts against the Red Sox, Dickey is 6-7 with a 4.50 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 30 walks.

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Read More: Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey, Red Sox, rick porcello
Closing Time: Steven Wright pitches well, but punchless Red Sox shut out by Blue Jays 04.10.16 at 5:19 pm ET
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Steven Wright wasn't the problem in Sunday's loss to the Jays. (Nick Turchiaro-USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright wasn’t the problem in Sunday’s loss to the Jays. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

Not even David Price could’ve saved them.

The controversy all week over the Red Sox’ choice of starter for Sunday’s finale in Toronto was rendered irrelevant by Jays right-hander Marco Estrada, who combined with two relievers to shut out the Red Sox in Toronto’s 3-0 victory.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright got the start on Price’s regularly scheduled day to pitch, with the Red Sox opting to hold Price back a day for Monday’s home opener at Fenway Park. Wright certainly did his part, limiting the high-octane Blue Jays to six hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five, but the Red Sox could do nothing with the crafty Estrada, who went seven shutout innings, striking out eight.

“Outstanding job on his part,” manager John Farrell said of Wright. “Kept us in the game into the seventh inning. He minimized the damage as much as possible in the first, but after that first inning, he settled in and controlled and commanded the knuckleball very well. He used his fastball at times to get ahead in the count, to get back into counts. But we ran into an outstanding pitching performance by Estrada today.”

The Jays basically won this one by the time they recorded their first out on offense. Singles by Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson leading off, followed by a walk to Jose Bautista, loaded the bases with one out. Edwin Encarnacion hit a double-play grounder to short, but Dustin Pedroia threw away Xander Bogaerts’ relay, allowing Encarnacion to reach and two runs to score.

Wright escaped further damage and kept the Jays off the board the rest of the way, their only other run coming on a mammoth solo homer by Donaldson off of reliever Noe Ramirez in the eighth.

The Red Sox return to Fenway 3-2 after a successful season-opening road trip, however, having taken two of three from the Jays.

Closing Time note

Until Ramirez allowed Donaldson’s homer, Red Sox relief pitchers had held opponents to a .100 average (5-for-50), the lowest mark among big league bullpens.

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Read More: Blue Jays, David Price, Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Steven Wright vs. Marco Estrada at 8:23 am ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

In the series finale on Sunday, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright will take on Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada. Both pitchers will be making their first start of the 2016 season.

Wright was used as a spot starter for most of 2015, when he started nine games. He posted a record of 5-4 to go with a 4.09 ERA and 52 strikeouts. He may find himself in a similar role this season once Eduardo Rodriguez returns from injury. The 31-year-old earned the temporary fifth spot in spring training, when he struck out 19 and had an ERA of 2.77 over 26 innings. He will come into his first outing with some positive momentum, as he impressed in his final Grapefruit League start against the Blue Jays at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on April 1.

“I thought he was outstanding for the time on the mound,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after that game. “A high number of strikeouts. His knuckleball was really working inside a dome, which is what we’ve seen over time, it usually has extra action to it. That was the case tonight. He threw a number of curveballs, a pitch that he’s brought along this spring. A very good outing for Steven.”

Wright will once again have the advantage of playing in a dome on Sunday, this time in Toronto. While he has never started a regular-season game against the Blue Jays, he has been used out of the bullpen on two separate occasions. In seven innings of work, he has allowed three earned runs and struck out nine.

As for Estrada, he will be coming off the disabled list to make his first start on Sunday. He started the year there with a sore back but pitched in a minor league game on Monday where he gave up one run on three hits over five innings of work.

Last season was Estrada’s best yet. The 32-year-old from Mexico posted a record of 13-8 to go with a 3.13 ERA and 131 strikeouts, setting career bests in wins, ERA, WHIP and innings pitched. His only downfall has been through the long ball. In the past two seasons alone, Estrada has allowed 53 home runs.

In five games against the Red Sox, Estrada is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

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Read More: Blue Jays, Marco Estrada, Red Sox, steven wright
Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Rick Porcello vs. R.A. Dickey 04.09.16 at 9:12 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

In the second game of the season’s first weekend series, the Red Sox will have righty Rick Porcello on the hill for his 2016 debut. He will be opposed by Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.

The 2015 season was a forgettable one for Porcello. Before he even made his first start with the club, the Red Sox signed him to a four-year, $82.5 million extension. Along with the high price tag came high expectations, and Porcello certainly did not live up to them. In one of his worst seasons statistically, he went 9-15 with a career worst 4.92 ERA and 149 strikeouts.

His spring training brought more cause for concern, as he struggled to find consistent success and had a several rough outings. Red Sox manager John Farrell echoed this in an interview after Porcello was hit hard by the Orioles in a Grapefruit League matchup.

“He’s capable of better,” Farrell said on March 28. “He has shown that. We need Rick to pitch to his strengths, which are continually worked on. He’s working at it to continue to refine it and gain that consistency. We need him to be a little bit more consistent.”

In 11 career starts against the Blue Jays, Porcello is 4-7 with a 5.29 ERA.

Dickey and Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright originally were to match up on Saturday, which would have been the first time in 16 years that two knuckleballers started against each other, but Thursday’s cancellation in Cleveland caused the Sox to tweak the pitching schedule.

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Read More: Blue Jays, R.A. Dickey, Red Sox, rick porcello
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