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Red Sox settle for series split after shaky loss to Blue Jays

July 21, 2017 GMT

Doug Fister probably didn’t deserve a break in the third inning, but that didn’t make the sting go away.

The Red Sox starter had issued three walks in the frame, yet with two outs, still had a chance to escape without giving up a run. It looked to be the case when Steve Pearce blooped his first-pitch fastball to short right field, but his defense couldn’t bail him out.

In what should have been a sure out, Brock Holt — who was filling in at second base for Dustin Pedroia — lost the ball in the sun and dropped the pop fly. That allowed two Blue Jays runners to score and tie the game at 3.

After another walk, Ryan Goins laced a two-run single to make Holt’s misplay hurt a lot more.

Not even Pedroia’s continued hot stretch at the plate could save the Red Sox in their 8-6 loss yesterday at Fenway Park. The teams split a four-game series.

“It’s one of those balls that wasn’t really high enough where I could do anything to move myself and maneuver myself to get that out of the sun, and by the time I lost it, I didn’t know if (Xander Bogaerts) was close enough to be able to get it,” Holt said. “He told me he was after the fact, but I tried to stay with it as long as I could, and unfortunately couldn’t make the play. That one’s on me.”

It was probably the deserved result for Fister, who had another shaky outing in his fourth Red Sox start. He struggled with command, as just 53 of his 100 pitches were strikes. His four walks — all in the third inning — were a season high.

That third inning was the killer, and Fister took responsibility for putting Holt in a difficult position.

“Any ball in the air, any ball on the ground is a dangerous play, no matter what it is,” Fister said. “The ball in the air (yesterday) was a tough one in the sun. Our sun here is sometimes right over head and makes an easy catch really difficult. Anything is a threat, so you can’t take anything for granted.

“Unfortunately that was an issue (yesterday), but it’s on my shoulders to get us into a bases-loaded jam in that spot, so I have to go out there and perform better.”

Fister pitched a 1-2-3 fourth, but then gave up a leadoff homer to Justin Smoak before he was chased in the fifth.

With the Sox soon returning to a five-man rotation, manager John Farrell said no final determination has been made on Fister’s future with the team.

“If that comes then we’ve gotta address that,” Fister said when asked if he would be comfortable pitching out of the bullpen.

Fister’s rocky third let Blue Jays starter Francisco Liriano off the hook. After Toronto scored one in the first, he couldn’t hold it as the Sox plated three in the second and chased him from the game.

Pedroia made things interesting in the seventh with a three-run homer to make it 7-6, but that’s all the Sox could muster against the Blue Jays bullpen as they failed to threaten in the eighth or ninth.

“We had some good at-bats,” Pedroia said. “Any time you get obviously the starter out early and get deep into their ’pen, it’s a good thing. Their ’pen just executed. They threw the ball well. … You just tip your hat to them. We just didn’t get enough runs, and we’ll come out (tonight) and play as hard as we can.”