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Blue Jays say goodbye to Buffalo with another loss against Red Sox

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The Blue Jays said bye-bye to Buffalo on Wednesday, providing some entertainment for fans of all stripes in a 7-4 Boston Red Sox win.

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The fans treated the Jays well while in Buffalo, just not when the New York Yankees or Red Sox were in town, with allegiances usually split or favouring the visitors on those occasions. Sox fans were everywhere on Wednesday and enjoyed some early fireworks at the expense of Robbie Ray, before the Jays supplied some of their own to at least make things interesting.

The Red Sox started swinging well against Ray in the third inning, collecting a double and then a Kike Hernandez homer to open the scoring. Rafael Devers crushed his 24th of the season in the fourth, Michael Chavis added another in the fifth after Vladimir Guerrero had gone opposite field for his 32nd of the season a half-inning earlier and Ray was done. Guerrero has now allowed 23 home runs — the third-most in the majors this season. Ray was coming off a pair of gems, 13.2 shutout innings against Tampa Bay and Texas. However, the three homers allowed were tied for Ray’s season-high, as were the four earned runs and Ray’s four punchouts were his lowest since his first two starts of the year.

“Consistency just wasn’t there tonight,” Ray said afterward. “Would throw a good one and throw one that wasn’t so good. I felt like my stuff was good. For the most part it was just my consistency with it,” he said.

The Jays got back into the game in the bottom of the sixth after Guerrero was walked with two outs. George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez hit back-to-back shots to make it 5-4, but the Red Sox added two more solo home runs in the eighth off Jordan Romano, who was pitching for the first time in 10 days, and the Jays could get no closer in dropping a second game to the Red Sox.

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“There’s no secret to what just happened,” said Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “We just couldn’t keep them in the ballpark.”

The moon rises over the message to the Buffalo fans during the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox at Sahlen Field on July 21, 2021 in Buffalo. KEVIN HOFFMAN/GETTY IMAGES
The moon rises over the message to the Buffalo fans during the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox at Sahlen Field on July 21, 2021 in Buffalo. KEVIN HOFFMAN/GETTY IMAGES

The Jays players tipped their caps to the fans after a mid-inning tribute early on and the organization placed a large “Thank you Buffalo” sign up in centre field, but the Jays had made no secret that while they appreciated Buffalo hosting them, they were absolutely counting the days before they could return to their true home.

“(Monday in the opener against Boston), against the Yankees, it feels like we’re playing on the road,” Montoyo had said. “But it is what it is. Otherwise, the crowds have been (supportive),” he said.

“I really like the city and the fans are great,” closer Romano said of Buffalo … “Except when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town. But they’re loud, they’re energetic. I’ll miss Buffalo, but I can’t wait to come home.”

Romano hails from Markham, so has an additional incentive to return to Toronto.

“My whole family, I’m sure they’ll be wanting to go to the first game. They haven’t seen live sports in a long time,” Romano said.

Romano noted that many of his teammates have never even played in Toronto or seen the home facilities, so he’s telling them what to expect.

Romano anticipates frenzied crowds at Rogers Centre will give the club an advantage.

“I think it’s going to be huge. I really do think that playing at home, it does affect the game. I’m not sure how much, but definitely when the fans are cheering when you do stuff well that’s obviously a big bonus,” Romano said. “We haven’t had that too much so I think it’s going to give us a boost.”

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The Jays were set to have 20 staff members pack up seven trucks full of equipment bound for Canada, while three more trucks would be returning some items to Dunedin, according to Sportsnet.

Enrique Hernandez of the Boston Red Sox (left) celebrates his two-run home run with first baseman Bobby Dalbec during the third inning. TIMOTHY T. LUDWIG/USA TODAY SPORTS
Enrique Hernandez of the Boston Red Sox (left) celebrates his two-run home run with first baseman Bobby Dalbec during the third inning. TIMOTHY T. LUDWIG/USA TODAY SPORTS

BULLPEN MIGHT GET INTERNAL HELP

The Blue Jays have added relievers Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards via trade and just got Ryan Borucki back, but more help could be on the way.

And we don’t mean at the July 30 MLB trade deadline, though that’s a possibility, too.

Two of the team’s flame throwers, Nate Pearson and Julian Merryweather, could play roles down the stretch, provided either can manage to finally get and stay healthy.

General manager Ross Atkins said Pearson, the team’s top prospect, would shift to a relief role for the rest of the season if he can get back on the field and Montoyo said Merryweather is “going to throw some bullpen sessions” and “we’ll see” how that goes (and whether he can get back at some point).

Cimber had pitched 5.2 scoreless innings since joining the Blue Jays before allowing one on Wednesday, Richards has been solid and Romano had been excellent with a 1.93 ERA and seven saves, before getting hit hard by the Sox. But getting either Pearson, Merryweather, or ideally, both back would suddenly turn the Toronto bullpen into a major strength.

“We did see it last year (to end the season and in the playoffs) and how dominant he is in the bullpen,” Romano said of Pearson in a media call Wednesday.

“I think we’re all excited. We’re waiting. Hopefully, he gets back and he’d be a very big boost for this bullpen.”

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STARTERS SET, RYU GETS REST

The Jays are off Thursday and will go with Steven Matz for Friday’s opener of a three-game series against the New York Mets. Hyun Jin Ryu will go Saturday, Ross Stripling Sunday.

Ryu is getting an extra day of rest between starts, which he likes and if he gets another he could be in line to start the July 30 return to Toronto.

Rookie Alek Manoah will start Monday against the Red Sox, assuming his sore back is feeling better. Thomas Hatch would likely start if Manoah can’t pitch. Hatch was slated to sub for Manoah Tuesday, but the game was rained out.

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AROUND THE BASES

Catcher Danny Jansen pulled up lame after hitting a double that also saw a Red Sox player injured on the play. Jansen has already spent time on the injured list with a hamstring issue and Montoyo said it was again a case of right hamstring tightness. Should Jansen need to miss time again, the good news for the Jays is Alejandro Kirk, back from an injury of his own, has been on fire in AAA and had six hits and seven RBI in his last six at-bats before being pulled from Wednesday’s AAA game. Montoyo said the Jays would assess things on Thursday … Before the game, the Blue Jays traded right-hander Joel Payamps to Kansas City for future considerations. The team also recalled right-hander Patrick Murphy from AAA … The Jays drew an average of 7,738 fans per game in Buffalo, the team said. That’s more than in Miami (6,464), Oakland (6,861) and Tampa Bay (7,405). Maybe the relocation talk involving Montreal should start up again?

@WolstatSun

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