Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Blue Jays' Pitching Woes Continue as Boston Red Sox Down Toronto 3-1

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Blue Jays' Pitching Woes Continue as Boston Red Sox Down Toronto 3-1

Article excerpt

Red Sox take advantage of Blue Jays pitching

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TORONTO - Pitching continued to be a problem both on and off the field for the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

J.A. Happ struggled with his command and Toronto's offence sputtered in key situations as the Blue Jays dropped a 3-1 decision to the Boston Red Sox.

"There's a line between not giving in and making quality pitches and I was constantly on the wrong side of that line tonight," said Happ, who gave up two earned runs, three hits and seven walks in 3 2-3 innings. "I made it tough on myself but our bullpen came in and did an awesome job, kept us right in the ballgame.

"We were in the ballgame the whole time, we had an opportunity."

Happ (2-2) and four Toronto relievers had a bend-but-don't-break night, combining for 10 walks, six hits and a wild pitch. The most walks the Red Sox had in a game this season prior to Thursday was nine in a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on April 16.

Toronto lost its second consecutive game to Boston a few hours after putting right-hander Josh Johnson on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right triceps. Reliever Brad Lincoln was called up from triple-A Buffalo to take his place on the roster.

Johnson is 0-1 with a 6.86 earned-run average in four starts since being acquired in a blockbuster off-season trade with the Miami Marlins.

Left-hander Ricky Romero will make his season debut for the Blue Jays on Friday after one start in single-A Dunedin.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons suggested after the game that Happ may be struggling with mechanical issues in his delivery.

"I think he's just lost his release point," said Gibbons. "He's the type of pitcher where he pitches up in the zone and sometimes he loses that. He's a big guy and it's easier to sometimes lose that release point, repeat your delivery, whatever it is.

"It happens two times and when that does happen you try to force it, you try a little harder and it gets tougher."

Happ, however, thinks his control issues are in his head.

"I've looked at the mechanical thing and everything," said Happ. "I think its just a mental thing of finding a way to get it done and make a quality pitch."

Ryan Dempster (2-2) of Gibsons, B.C., pitched six innings for Boston (20-8), improving to 6-0 against Canadian teams. Joel Hanrahan pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save on the year.

"I'm looking for more expansion teams in Canada," said Dempster, who became the first Canadian-born Red Sox starter to win in Canada since Rheal Cormier beat the Blue Jays in Toronto in 1995. "That's kind of the goal. Maybe Vancouver will get a team, or Winnipeg or something, so I can hopefully keep that going."

Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Carp led the Red Sox offence with a hit and an RBI each.

Both Happ and Gibbons pointed to the strong performance of the bullpen to keep Toronto within reach. …

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