BOSTON – The fast start by the Boston Red Sox already seems like a distant memory.
Jose Bautista hit two of Toronto’s five home runs, and the Blue Jays beat the Boston 12-4 Sunday and sent the Red Sox to their eighth loss in 10 games.
In their first season under Manager John Farrell, the Red Sox had spurted to a 20-8 opening.
“I know it’s a cliche, but things are evening out,” Farrell said.
Ryan Dempster (2-4) gave up six runs and seven hits in five innings, his shortest start this season. The British Columbia native had been 6-0 against Toronto and Montreal in his big league career.
“They don’t hand out trophies in April or May or June or July or August,” he said in the middle of a quiet clubhouse as his teammates packed for three-city, nine-game trip. “We just have keep grinding out for the whole year, and at the end of the year see how it works out. The guys in here will continue to do that and bounce back and get on a winning streak.”
Boston opened the season with its best start since 2002, but the past nearly two weeks have seen the club lose two closers to the disabled list, including Joel Hanrahan, to a season-ending forearm injury.
The Red Sox were a big league-best 18-8 in April.
“I think we’ve got a number of guys dealing with frustration right now. There’s no question about it,” Farrell said. “The key for us is maintaining our level of preparation and our work routine. Those are the two things that we can control. I know with the attitude of this group, we’re going to continue to work, but we’re getting tested right now. There’s no question about it.”
Mike Napoli and Pedro Ciriaco homered for Boston, which opens a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Boston’s Shane Victorino crashed into right-field wall in the fourth while catching Colby Rasmus’ drive and fell to the ground, writhing in pain. After being attended to by team personnel, Victorino remained in the game but left after the sixth inning. The team said after the game that he went to a hospital to be further evaluated.
Emilio Bonifacio, Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie also homered for the Blue Jays, who took two of three in the weekend series but have won just seven of their last 20.
Chad Jenkins (1-0) got his second major league win and first since Oct. 2, allowing two runs and seven hits in five innings-plus. It was just the fourth big league start and 14th appearance for Jenkins, who missed most of spring training and the start of the season with shoulder inflammation.
Munenori Kawasaki hit a two-run single in the second and Bautista sent Dempster’s first pitch of the third into the seats above the Green Monster in left.
Bonifacio hit a two-run homer in the fourth for a 5-0 lead, his first home run since last July 23 for Miami.
Napoli led off the fourth with his seventh homer, and Encarnacion homered in the fifth to make it 6-1. Lawrie homered off Andrew Miller leading off the sixth and Bautista hit a two-run drive off Clayton Mortensen later in the inning for a 10-1 lead, Bautista’s ninth homer this year. He has 18 career multihomer games.
Ciriaco opened the eighth with his first home run since Aug. 26.
NOTES: Red Sox DH David Ortiz had a scheduled day off after playing in 19 games since returning from an injury April 20. He is in a 1-for-17 slump after hitting .414 with four homers and 17 RBIs through his first 15 games. …
Bautista has reached safely in 18 of his last 19 games. …
Farrell said the other closer, RHP Andrew Bailey, on the DL with a right biceps strain, likely will throw off a mound Tuesday and the team then will decide whether he will require a rehab stint. …
Ciriaco entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh, making his first big league appearance at first base.