TORONTO (AP) - Blue Jays utility man Mike McCoy threw as many perfect innings Saturday as the six players who make their living as pitchers combined for: one.
McCoy pitched a 1-2-3 ninth after the Boston Red Sox roughed up Brandon Morrow and the Toronto bullpen for a 16-4 victory.
The Red Sox amassed 18 hits in dropping Toronto (32-33) below .500 for the first time since May 27.
``When we had Mike McCoy on the mound in the ninth inning I think it's fair to say it wasn't one of our better days on the mound,' said Blue Jays manager John Farrell. ``They put a lot of good swings on some fastballs up in the zone.'
McCoy started at second base in place of Aaron Hill. He has a 1.59 ERA in three minor league pitching appearances.
``You just try not to do too much and kind of stay within yourself and throwing softly is more effective against big-league hitters who are used to seeing 90 and I'm throwing 72, 73, hitters get themselves out usually,' McCoy said. ``I threw a couple of sliders just to mix it up and get them out front a little bit. It's pretty exciting, except for the loss.'
Many of Boston's good swings came against Toronto starter Brandon Morrow.
The right-hander gave up a career-worst nine earned runs on 10 hits and three walks in just 4 1-3 innings, the 26-year-old's shortest outing of the season.
``It's really tough to put a finger on right now,' said Morrow, winless in five starts with a 6.35 ERA over that stretch. `` I wasn't falling behind too many guys. I was in pretty good counts. They hit some pretty good pitches, some flares, some broken bats.'
Every Red Sox starter drove in at least one run and eight of the nine starters scored at least once as league-leading Boston won its season-high eighth straight game.
Boston's No. 9 hitter Jason Varitek homered and drove in four runs, David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and ex-Blue Jay Marco Scutaro had four hits and scored three times against his former team.
``When everybody's hitting, it's kind of contagious,' said Scutaro.
The offensive outburst helped Red Sox starter John Lackey make up for a terrible first start in Toronto this season.
Lackey (4-5) delivered six strong innings in his second start since going on the disabled list after he gave up nine runs in 6 2-3 innings against the Blue Jays on May 11.
``I felt good, I felt like it was a step forward, still building some arm strength,' Lackey said of his comeback from a strained elbow. ``I thought the guys swung the bats pretty good, made it pretty easy on me.'
The right-hander was charged with four runs on six hits and two walks while having to wait through two innings his teammates batted around.
``I'll sit there all day if they want to keep swinging like that, that's fine,' he said. ``That's not something I'm ever going to complain about, for sure.'
Boston manager Terry Francona said he was pleased with Lackey's performance that included a season-high eight strikeouts.
``He had some depth to his pitches,' said Francona. ``You don't ever hear me sit here and worry about strikeouts, I care about them getting out.'
Reliever Jason Frasor took over from Morrow with one out in the fifth but fared little better. He surrendered a hit and a walk before Ortiz hit his 16th homer of the season that stretched Boston's lead to 12-2.
Boston took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third as five straight Red Sox reached with one out, batting around for the first time.
Back-to-back singles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedroia set up Adrian Gonzalez, who roped a double to right that scored Ellsbury.
The hit gave the first baseman at least one RBI in eight straight games, extending a new career high he set on Friday when Boston won the series opener 5-1.
Morrow then loaded the bases by intentionally walking Ortiz - after a first-inning single, he was 5 for 8 in his career against the right-hander - to face Jed Lowrie, who had never faced Morrow before popping up to end the first.
The move backfired. Morrow hit Lowrie with a pitch to force in a run that made it 2-0.
Carl Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to left before Scutaro hit an RBI single up the middle.
Pedroia had a one-out RBI double in the fourth and two-run double in the eighth. Rajai Davis snapped an 0-for-23 slump with a two-run double that cut Boston's lead to 5-2 in the fourth.
Edwin Encarnacion's second home run of the season, a two-run shot off Lackey in the sixth, scored Toronto's only other runs.
NOTES: Shortstop Yunel Escobar returned to Toronto's lineup after missing two games because of soreness in his left quadriceps. Saturday's announced crowd of 39,437 marked the first time Toronto drew more than 30,000 since their season-opening series against Minnesota. AL home run leader Jose Bautista failed to homer for a 13th straight game, equaling his longest drought since a 13-game run in June of 2010. Last year's major league-leader with 54 home runs has also gone 11 games without an extra-base hit. McCoy became the fifth position player in Blue Jays franchise history to pitch in a game, the first since Frank Menechino on Aug. 28, 2004. Morrow said he was fine after Blue Jays trainers checked on him in the second after ex-Blue Jay Marco Scutaro hit the pitcher with a line drive in the back of the right leg.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved