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After two long days off to think about their 2-9 start, the Red Sox made some positive news early Friday by signing first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a 7-year, $154 million deal that will keep him in Boston through the 2018 season. The Sox needed to make more good news Friday night to avoid the club’s worst start to a season since 1996. Bad news: they lost 7-6.
Well, things started well. Clay Buchholz worked around a first inning jam to keep it scoreless (including a three-run HR by Adam Lind that was overturned by instant replay), and the Red Sox tacked on three runs in the third to give them a rare lead. Dustin Pedroia launched a solo shot and Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run HR, his first of the year, in that inning off Toronto starter Brett Cecil, who settled down after that (6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB).
Buchholz (5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB) ran into trouble in the fifth. With two runners on, journeyman Corey Patterson slapped a two-run triple down the right field line to bring the Blue Jays within one. Buchholz got out of the inning and came out for the sixth, but was removed after he walked Lind and yielded a hit to Aaron Hill.
Alfredo Aceves came on to replace the Sox starter, and got a quick double play off the bat of J.P. Arencibia. With two outs, Travis Snider doubled home Lind to tie it up 3-3.
Bobby Jenks came on in the seventh inning, and had yet to allow a run in a Sox uniform. Friday night’s outing was a bit different, however. Jenks only retired one of the five hitters he faced, allowing four hits, a walk, and four runs in the process.
Down 7-3 in the eighth, the Red Sox showed a bit of life. Youkilis and David Ortiz both walked with one out and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch by Blue Jays reliever Mike Rzepczynski. Jed Lowrie, pinch-hitting for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, singled home Youkilis, and Marco Scutaro doubled home both Ortiz and Lowrie to bring the Sox within one.
Jonathan Papelbon worked a scoreless ninth, putting the game in the hands of Toronto closer Jon Rauch. Carl Crawford had his chance to win over Red Sox Nation leading off the ninth, but instead, he struck out to complete an 0-5 night (though he was definitely safe on a grounder in the first inning). Pedroia and Gonzalez then grounded out to end the misery.
Scutaro came up huge for the Sox, going 1-3 with the big two-run double in the eighth inning. He also added a walk.
Jenks allowed four runs in the seventh…and the Red Sox lost by 1. Yeah, I’d say it’s his fault.
W: Brett Cecil (1-1)
L: Bobby Jenks (0-1)
SV: Jon Rauch (3)