Blue Jays hold Red Sox to two hits in 8-0 shutout

The Red Sox have rarely looked more helpless in recent seasons than they did Wednesday night.

Mookie Betts was out of the lineup. A bullpen game was on tap from the pitching staff. Boston was effectively playing out the string against the Blue Jays under a closed roof at Rogers Centre.

The result was a dismal one. The Red Sox now appear to be in more of a race to finish the season above .500 than they do to secure one of two American League wild-card spots. Boston has yet to be mathematically eliminated, but this 8-0 defeat suggested acceptance of that eventuality.

Toronto's pitching staff had its way with a Red Sox lineup that couldn't muster anything resembling a threat. The first of two Boston hits of the night was a two-out looper to shallow left by Rafael Devers in the top of the first inning. The Blue Jays retired 16 straight Red Sox between the last out of the third and Brock Holt's leadoff single to left in the top of the ninth.

Boston also saw its string of 159 games with an extra-base hit snapped, one that started almost exactly a year ago. The Red Sox were shut out by the Mets, 8-0, on Sept. 14 of last season and followed with the fourth-longest run in modern big league history. Boston's 164 games from 2004-05 remains atop the list, sitting ahead of the Reds (161 games, 1999-2000) and Indians (161, 1995-96).

Wilmer Font, Trent Thornton, Jason Adam and Ryan Tepera combined to shut the Red Sox out for the second time in their last three games. Boston also came within a lone out of the same conclusion on Saturday before J.D. Martinez drove a solo home run in a 5-1 loss to the Yankees. Checking the scoreboard for results involving the Rays, Athletics and Indians seems like wasted time at this point.

Toronto broke open what was a 2-0 game by batting around in the bottom of the fifth. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded a two-run single through the left side, the last of four straight hits against Ryan Weber. Randal Grichuk's two-run double off the wall in right and Teoscar Hernandez's two-run homer to left roughed up Travis Lakins and gave the Blue Jays an eight-run cushion.

The hosts took the lead for good in the fourth thanks to some shaky Red Sox defense. Cavan Biggio's looper down the line in left was generously scored a double, as Devers ranged behind the bag at third and failed to make the catch. Biggio stole third standing up and trotted in on a sacrifice fly to left by Guerrero.

That gave Toronto a 1-0 lead, and its second run came from a familiar source. Rowdy Tellez crushed a solo homer to deep right, his second in as many nights and seventh against Boston this season. Tellez and White Sox outfielder Ron Kittle – the 1983 American League Rookie of the Year – are the only first-year players with as many home runs against the Red Sox.

Boston's third instance this month using the opener was a success yet again. Bobby Poyner retired all six men he faced, including a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the second. Lakins and Thursday starter Jhoulys Chacin each threw two scoreless frames in games Friday and Saturday against the Yankees.