TORONTO (AP) - Boston veteran Mitch Moreland said it’s been “a tough couple of days” for the Red Sox offense. Doesn’t get much more rugged than this.
Trent Thornton and three others combined on a two-hitter, Teoscar Hernández and Rowdy Tellez homered, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 8-0 Wednesday night.
“It’s never fun when you’re not winning,” Moreland said. “We’ve got to start over tomorrow and get back on track.”
The slumping Red Sox were shut out for the sixth time and have lost five straight. They had just four baserunners, and none advanced past second base.
“We’re not controlling the strike zone right now,” manager Alex Cora said. “Today was fastballs up, breaking balls down. We didn’t make an adjustment, we didn’t get on top of the fastball, we swung and missed at the breaking ball and it was an easy game for the pitching staff.”
Thornton (5-9) followed an opener with five hitless innings, walking one and striking out seven in his first career relief appearance.
“He mixed it up,” Moreland said. “He was throwing everything for strikes, both sides of the pate, elevated his heater. He threw a good game, or half a game.”
Thornton is the second pitcher in Blue Jays history to pitch five hitless innings of relief. Right-hander Roy Lee Jackson did it against Minnesota on Sept. 28, 1982.
Thornton said Toronto teammate and former Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz taught him a new curveball grip earlier this week, and he put it to good use against Boston.
“I was throwing it in my last side (session) and it just kind of clicked,” Thornton said. “I brought it into the game and that was probably the most effective my curveball has been all year.”
Thornton leads all AL rookies with 134 strikeouts.
“The main thing was he was throwing strike one,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He was ahead in the count for most of his five innings.”
Blue Jays opener Wilmer Font allowed a hit during the first two innings, and Jason Adam and Ryan Tepera finished with an inning apiece as Toronto blanked an opponent for the seventh time.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had three RBIs and Cavan Biggio had two hits and scored twice as the Blue Jays won their second straight following a season-long seven game losing streak.
Rafael Devers and Brock Holt each had singles for the Red Sox, who were blanked for the second time in three games. Boston also failed to get an extra-base hit, ending a 159-game streak that was the fourth longest in baseball history.
Toronto first baseman Brandon Drury made a diving play on Devers’ hard grounder down the line in the ninth, throwing to second to force out Chris Owings.
The defending World Series champions have endured a rough stretch in which president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was fired and a three-year run of AL East titles came to an end.
“We didn’t expect to be in this situation,” Cora said. “The effort is there, but the results are not. Obviously everybody is disappointed in what’s going on.”
Held hitless through the first three innings, the Blue Jays scored twice in the fourth against right-hander Trevor Kelley (0-1). Biggio reached on a bloop double and stole third before scoring on Guerrero’s sacrifice fly. Tellez followed with a drive to right, his 19th and seventh in 11 games against the Red Sox. Tellez hit a go-ahead two-run homer in Toronto’s 4-3 win Tuesday.
Toronto scored six more in a bat-around fifth against a trio of relievers, with six of seven batters getting hits at one stretch. Guerrero hit a two-run single off Ryan Weber, Randal Grichuk hit a two-run double off Travis Lakins, and Hernandez capped it with a drive to left, his 22nd, also off Lakins
Left-hander Bobby Poyner opened for the Red Sox, the first start of his big league career and just his fourth as a professional. Poyner struck out two in two perfect innings.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (left wrist) threw a 20-pitch bullpen before the game. Price was scratched from Friday’s start against the Yankees. … RHP Heath Hembree (right elbow) also threw a bullpen session before the game. … OF Mookie Betts got the day off.
Blue Jays: OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (left quadriceps) felt sore after running before Tuesday’s game. Gurriel has been out since Aug. 9
Biggio is 11 for 11 in stolen base attempts, the most successful streak to begin a career in Blue Jays history. Former Blue Jays outfielder Shannon Stewart stole 10 straight to start his Toronto tenure.
Red Sox: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-10, 5.66) was pushed back a day to open Thursday’s series finale. Chacin made his Boston debut as an opener against the Yankees on Sept. 6, striking out four in two scoreless innings.
Blue Jays: RHP Buchholz (1-4, 5.31) faces his former team for the first time Thursday. Buchholz went 81-61 over 206 games in 10 seasons with the Red Sox.
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