TORONTO — Red Sox manager John Farrell put his faith in rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh inning Sunday.
With his team trailing, 2-1, against the Blue Jays, Farrell let Bradley bat against reliever Steve Delabar with runners on second and third and one out.
There were several options on the bench, David Ortiz one of them, but Farrell stayed with Bradley, who was 4 for 10 in the series with two RBIs. He had delivered an RBI single earlier in the game.
Bradley took two pitches that were well off the plate then a fastball inside that was called a strike. The fourth pitch was a little less inside and he popped it foul to the third baseman.
The Sox failed to score in the inning and went on to lose, 7-1.
“I feel like I let the team down. In that situation right there I had an opportunity to tie the ballgame up. I’ve got to get better, I really do,” said Bradley, who is hitting .230.
Said Farrell: “It’s an advantage count. He did a good job getting to that point. And yet it’s a popup vs. a base hit with men in scoring position.”
Bradley said it was a situation from which he hoped to learn.
“That’s the idea, to take the experience and get better,” he said. “You want every situation like that to be one you can learn from.”
Day of rest
Farrell gave Ortiz and right fielder Shane Victorino a day off. Victorino had played three consecutive games after starting the season on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. That the game was on artificial turf was part of the equation.
It was a scheduled day off for Ortiz despite his being 4 for 12 with a home run against Toronto starter R.A. Dickey.
The Sox used catcher A.J. Pierzynski as the DH and cleanup hitter. He was 0 for 4 despite hitting the ball hard twice.
“With Vic just coming back, just wanted to be careful that we’re not running him out there too many consecutive days,” Farrell said. “This is three in a row, and, with the turf, guys respond a little bit differently. Same with David.”
With the Sox off on Monday, Ortiz and Victorino will get a two-day break.
“It gives them a chance to regroup a little bit,” Farrell said. “You manage for the whole season, not just for today. There’s a balance to that. These are welcome opportunities, particularly in Vic’s case.”
Junichi Tazawa has faced the Blue Jays 16 times in his career, throwing 15⅓ innings. He has allowed 13 runs on 23 hits, seven of them home runs.
Toronto hitters have a .359 batting average and 1.221 OPS against Tazawa. On Saturday, he inherited a 7-3 lead in the eighth inning and allowed two runs on four hits.
“We can’t turn our back on the success they’ve had against him,” Farrell said. “They see him well, they’ve squared up a number of pitches against him. That’s not to say we wouldn’t go to him.”
The way Tazawa is getting hit by the Blue Jays, it’s like they know what’s coming. But the Red Sox don’t believe that is the case.
“We’ve looked at video, we’ve looked at things that might be a telltale or tipping of pitches. I just think they’re a very good fastball-hitting team,” Farrell said.
“As a former pitcher, there’s always teams you know you didn’t fare too well against. He may face this team a little differently from a mental standpoint.”
It’s on Tazawa to figure it out. The Red Sox have 16 games remaining against the Blue Jays this season and Tazawa is one of their primary setup men.
“Particularly against righthanders against this team, it would be helpful if he pitched in more,” Farrell said. “He’s so dominant to his glove side of the plate, that’s where they look, that’s where they’ve caught some fastballs. That’s their strength as well, that side of the plate.
“Those are righthanders that look to dive out over the plate and you’ve got to keep a guy honest a little bit more.”
Grand old time
Pierzynski’s grand slam Saturday was the eighth of his career and raised his batting average to .351 (54 of 154) with the bases loaded.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pierzynski, Bobby Abreu, Ortiz, Albert Pujols, and Mark Teixeira are the only active players with at least eight grand slams and a bases-loaded average above .350.
The Red Sox have hit at least one grand slam in 61 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in major league history.
Xander Bogaerts extended his hit streak to 10 games with a single in the second inning. He is the first Red Sox player age 21 or younger with a double-digit hit streak since 21-year-old Tony Conigliaro had a 13-game streak in 1966 . . . Mike Napoli, who went 1 for 4, has reached base in 21 consecutive games . . . Vice president of player personnel Allard Baird was at Citi Field in New York to present Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia with his World Series ring . . . The Blue Jays were the first team to start six players from the Dominican Republic as Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Juan Francisco, Jose Reyes, and Moises Sierra were in the lineup . . . Bautista started in center field for the third time this season. Before this season, he not started a game in center since 2009 . . . The game drew a sellout crowd of 45,260, pepping up the usually sleepy atmosphere at the Rogers Centre. A bobblehead of Dickey helped bring in fans.