Stumbling Jays lose series to Red Sox

Dhiren Mahiban

TORONTO–Life as a starter continues to be a struggle for Joe Biagini.
The right-hander went just 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits while striking out three and walking three, as the Toronto Blue Jays fell 5-3 to the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre yesterday afternoon.
“It’s definitely a challenge to come up here, make a couple starts,” said Biagini. “Go down there [the minors], make some starts, and come back and forth, and be in different places and things.
“Disappointing for me to be on the wrong end of it but try to do the best as you can,” he added.
J.D. Martinez got to Biagini early, taking his first-pitch fastball over the wall in right field for a two-run home run in the first.
Then with the bases loaded in the fourth, Biagini walked Mitch Moreland to make it 3-0.
Biagini (0-2) then settled down in the fourth and retired the side in order.
Biagini hasn’t won a start with the Jays this season in three attempts, and is 0-3 with a 4.57 ERA in four starts with ‘AAA’ Buffalo.
“He’s a sinker-baller and he’s got a good curve ball,” said Jays’ manager John Gibbons.
“When he’s on, he’s throwing that fastball over the plate, it gets a lot of action on it so it gets some quick ground balls,” he noted.
Boston (28-12) took two of three from the Jays over the weekend and have won six-of-10 overall.
Justin Smoak had a two-run double and Russell Martin drove in a run for the Jays (21-20), who now have dropped seven of their last eight Mother’s Day games.
Toronto has lost six-of-10 overall.
Red Sox right-fielder Mookie Betts showed off his defensive skills in the bottom half of the fourth, running down a Richard Urena fly ball and making a diving catch just in front of the wall in foul territory.
With John Axford on in relief, Martinez drove in Andrew Benintendi with a single to right giving Boston a 4-0 cushion.
Toronto finally got to Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz in the fifth when Smoak doubled off the wall in centre field, driving in a pair and cutting Boston’s lead in half.
Two batters later, with Hector Velazquez on in relief, Martin pulled the Jays to within one with an RBI single.
Velazquez (5-0) allowed two hits over two innings while striking out two for the win.
Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.
With Toronto trailing 4-3 in the seventh, Yangervis Solarte thought he had the game’s tying run while trying to score from first on a Martin double.
But the Jays’ second baseman couldn’t beat the Red Sox relay and was tagged out at home.
Benintendi then gave Boston a 5-3 lead after scoring on a Xander Bogaerts ground-out in the eighth.
Elsewhere in the AL, L.A. nipped Minnesota 2-1, Baltimore routed Tampa Bay 17-1, New York beat Oakland 6-2, Detroit edged Seattle 5-4, Cleveland dumped Kansas City 11-2, and Houston upended Texas 6-1.
Over in the NL, Atlanta edged Miami 4-3, Philadelphia doubled New York 4-2, San Francisco blanked Pittsburgh 5-0, Milwaukee dumped Colorado 7-3, Cincinnati beat L.A. 5-3, San Diego downed St. Louis 5-3, and Washington upended Arizona 6-4.
The Chicago White Sox beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 in interleague play.