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Blue Jays third baseman/outfielder Jose Bautista continued one of the great contract years in recent memory on Friday, slugging his major league-leading 48th home run, and breaking George Bell’s franchise record. Let’s put that number in perspective: Bautista’s 48 bombs lead the American League by 11 over White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko (37). David Ortiz is fifth in the AL with 30, just 18 (!!) behind Bautista. No player in the majors even has 40 (Albert Pujols has 39). So, it’s safe to say Bautista is having one of those how-did-that-happen-without-steroids seasons.
Bautista’s homer capped a disgusting two-inning stretch for the Red Sox, which saw John Lackey and Michael Bowden yield eight runs. Lackey entered the fifth with a 2-2 tie, but coughed up five runs on three doubles, two singles, and a sac fly during the run-scoring plays. By the end of the sixth inning, after the major league home run leader rounded the bases yet again, the score was 10-2 and your TV was either off or you changed the channel to How I Met Your Mother re-runs on Lifetime (good show, not-so-good network).
Riding a four-game win streak heading into the weekend series, the Red Sox showed a little heart in trying desperately to mount a comeback as their playoff lives so desperately depended on it. The Sox scored three times in the sixth, twice more in the eighth, and two more during a rally in the ninth to pull within too, but it just was not enough.
Playing for a contract himself, Victor Martinez certainly impressed any scouts sitting in the stands. He finished 2-5 at the plate with two home runs, an RBI groundout, and five RBI in all batting third in the order.
It was another pitiful effort from Lackey, whose ERA rose to 4.63 and record dropped to 12-11. Is that what $18 million is worth these days? Can you say hyperinflation?
W: Brett Cecil (13-7)
L: John Lackey (12-11)
SV: Kevin Gregg (32)