Trent Thornton should be revelling in his best week as a major leaguer. Instead, the Blue Jays are mourning yet another loss after a late-inning collapse at Fenway Park.
Thornton picked up his second consecutive quality start and departed with a four-run lead in the seventh inning. Then, one by one four relievers entered, and each allowed a run with the final blow coming in the bottom of the 10th on a walkoff homer by Christian Vazquez. Toronto lost 7-5.
Right-hander Jordan Romano took the loss despite being the only reliever who had a bit of success against Boston. Romano tossed a scoreless ninth and struck out five batters over 12/3 innings before hitting Marco Hernandez on the elbow and then serving up a two-run shot to Vazquez. Tim Mayza, Joe Biagini and David Phelps were each charged with one run out of the bullpen.
Thornton deserved a much better fate after he scattered eight hits and a walk while striking out seven over 61/3 innings. The 25-year-old had multiple runners on base during each of his first three innings, but kept finding ways to escape the troublesome situations. Thornton held the Red Sox hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. He stranded seven baserunners before handing things over to the bullpen midway through the seventh. That’s when the collapse began.
Earlier in the game, Freddy Galvis opened the scoring with a two-run single in the top of the first as Toronto started off strong against Boston ace Chris Sale. Two innings later, Randal Grichuk reclaimed his status as the Jays’ leader in home runs with his 14th of the year, a two-run shot. Prior to facing the Jays, Sale allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last three starts, but he surrendered four on Friday night and was chased after five innings because of a high pitch count.
- Vlad’s derby date: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reportedly has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by agreeing to participate in the home run derby at next month’s all-star game in Cleveland. According to ESPN’s Marly Rivera, Guerrero will be one of four hitters suiting up for the American League on July 8 at Progressive Field. He would join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only 20-year-olds to compete in the annual event. Guerrero’s hall-of-fame father won the derby in 2007 with 17 home runs at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Guerrero previously expressed interest in participating but was waiting for an invite.
- Sogard, so good: Eric Sogard, who finished 4-for-5, continues to be one of the Jays’ surprise success stories this season. The 33-year-old picked up his second consecutive game with at least three hits, and he has multiple hits in eight of his last 10 contests. Sogard is batting .452 (19-for-42) over that same span. He entered play on Friday with multiple hits in 42.6 per cent of his games this season, which ranked second among all MLB batters. Only Houston’s Michael Brantley has posted a higher rate at 43.1 per cent. Sogard also had a .310 average (52-for-168) when batting out of the leadoff spot, fifth-best in the AL.
- Up next: The Jays picked a bad time to have a meltdown from their relievers because Saturday is scheduled to be a bullpen day. The outing originally belonged to Edwin Jackson, but he was placed on the injured list this week. Boston will counter with lefty Brian Johnson (1-1, 10.00 ERA) and first pitch is scheduled for 4:07 p.m.
Gregor Chisholm is a Toronto-based baseball columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @GregorChisholm or reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org