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John Lackey's shortest start as a member of the Boston Red Sox was a very long 2 1-3 innings.
Lackey allowed seven runs on nine hits as the Toronto Blue Jays took a huge lead early, then tacked on a couple runs at the end to hold off Boston in a 9-7 win on Monday.
Lackey (5-8) said his velocity was good, but his location was not and the Blue Jays took advantage, scoring one in the first, two in the second and four in the third.
"I would have fixed it if I had known" what was causing the struggles, Lackey said. "Some soft ones fell in on good pitches and made some bad pitches that got hit hard. It kind of all added up to that."
Lackey had never failed to make it through at least the third inning since he joined Boston last season. He had thrown more than 60 pitches before getting an out in the third inning and his 65th pitch was lined down the right field line for a double by Travis Snider.
Boston fans cheered when manager Terry Francona walked out of the dugout to pull Lackey, then booed as the big right-hander slowly walked to the dugout with his head down the entire way.
Toronto snapped Boston's four-game winning streak, which included a weekend sweep of Houston - the team with the worst record in the majors. But spotting the Blue Jays a 7-0 lead, then allowing runs in the seventh and eighth innings was too much for Boston to overcome.
"You don't know what's too much or not enough. We actually had a chance," Francona said. "We gave it a run, but that's a tough way to win. When they score that much early and then they add on at all, it makes it difficult."
Snider, recalled earlier Monday from Triple-A Las Vegas, had three doubles and drove in a pair of runs and Aaron Hill homered for Toronto, which had lost nine of 14.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a two-run triple and tied his career best with four hits for the Red Sox, who didn't get a runner past third base until the fifth inning.
Toronto starter Brandon Morrow (5-4), allowed four runs on five hits, walking three and striking out five over five-plus innings. It was his third victory in four starts.
Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis left the game in the fourth after getting hit in the upper back. Francona said the Sox pulled Youkilis for precautionary reasons and he would be evaluated Tuesday.
Boston rallied early and again late, cutting it to 9-7 with three runs in the eighth, but Frank Francisco got the final three outs for his 10th save. He struck out Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Yamaico Navarro with a runner on second.
Rajai Davis led off the first with a hustle double to left, stole third and scored on the play when Youkilis mishandled catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's throw for an error, with the ball bouncing off his glove into foul territory.
Hill opened the second with a homer into the second row of Green Monster seats and John McDonald's RBI single made it 3-0 after Snider doubled.
Then things got really bad for Lackey in the third.
Adam Lind had an RBI single, making it 4-0 after Eric Thames and Jose Bautista singled. Loud boos could be heard echoing around Fenway Park after Lind's hit and again two batters later. Lackey then retired Edwin Encarnacion on a deep drive to left-center before Hill had an RBI single and Snider, the final batter he faced, doubled down the right-field line, making it 7-0.
"They strung them together and they put up a lot of runs," Francona said.
Lackey was coming off his second best start of the season when he allowed just two runs in 7 2-3 innings in a loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday.
The Red Sox started a comeback, scoring four runs with two outs in the fifth. Ellsbury had a two-run triple, scored on a passed ball by Jose Molina and Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double.
But reliever Luis Perez worked two scoreless innings and Jason Frasor got three outs despite allowing three runs.
This program aired on July 5, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.
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