TORONTO — David Ortiz hit one of the longest home runs of his career on Wednesday night, driving a knuckleball from R.A. Dickey off the facing of the fourth deck in right field in the first inning.
It was the kind of shot that should have been the topic of conversation when the game was over, Ortiz cracking jokes while his teammates shared their admiration for his latest feat.
Instead Ortiz dressed quickly, threw a black leather backpack over his shoulder, and walked out the back door of a clubhouse that was as quiet as Fenway Park will be in October.
“When you take a lead and give it back and lose, that’s tough to take,” Ortiz said after the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Red Sox, 6-4. “We’re not in a position to do that.”
Dust off those trade rumors. After winning eight of nine games, the last-place Sox have lost two in a row and have four games left on their road trip. At 47-54, finishing .500 may be the only realistic goal remaining.
The Blue Jays are fielding top-heavy lineups with Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and Brett Lawrie on the disabled list, but have taken two of three from the Red Sox with the series finale on Thursday afternoon.
The bottom four hitters in the Toronto order — Munenori Kawasaki, Josh Thole, Ryan Goins, and Anthony Gose — got on base eight times, scored two runs, stole two bases, and drove in two runs.
Trailing, 3-0, Toronto played like a team with a purpose and fought back against an erratic Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox? Their final 13 hitters went in order against Dickey and two relievers. They twice blew leads.
“I’ll take the blame for this one, for sure,” Buchholz said.
The Sox led, 3-0, three batters into the game.
Shane Victorino, batting leadoff in place of a resting Brock Holt, singled to left field. Dustin Pedroia snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a single to center. Ortiz then unloaded.
“What do you think?” Big Papi said when asked if he ever had hit a knuckleball harder.
The 434-foot shot was the fourth homer of the series for Ortiz and the 455th of his career, tying Adam Dunn for 35th all time. His 37 home runs at Rogers Centre are a record for an opposing player.
The home run also gave Ortiz 1,501 RBIs. He is 53d in that category, eight behind Mickey Mantle.
The bottom of the inning was even more eventful as Buchholz allowed three runs on four hits and threw 31 pitches.
Jose Reyes led off with a single before Buchholz, ever confounding, walked Melky Cabrera on four pitches. Jose Bautista lined a double down the line in left to drive in a run.
Dioner Navarro grounded to third and Bogaerts threw Cabrera out at the plate.
When Colby Rasmus grounded to first, Mike Napoli stepped on the base and threw to the plate but Bautista beat Christian Vazquez’s tag.
Kawasaki hit a one-hopper up the middle that struck Buchholz on the right side of his head at the temple. He was knocked down but stayed on the mound.
“I knew it didn’t get me in the face, that was the first checkpoint. But it dazed me, for sure,” Buchholz said. “Once I got up and got my bearings straight, I felt fine.”
Thole tied the game with a double to left field, the ball soaring over the head of Daniel Nava. Two runs would have scored had the ball not hopped over the fence. Buchholz finally ended the inning by getting Goins to ground to first base.
The Red Sox left two runners on base in the third inning and again in the fourth as Dickey survived. The Sox got the lead back in the fifth inning on back-to-back doubles with two outs by Nava and Bogaerts.
It was the first double since June 6 for Bogaerts.
Dickey (8-10) allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out five.
Buchholz had a 4-3 lead going into the sixth inning and could not hold it.
He walked Thole before the light-hitting Goins ripped a changeup to the gap in right field for his first career triple.
With the infield in, Buchholz struck out Gose. Reyes then grounded to third. Bogaerts had time to make the play but rushed his throw and it bounced. Napoli could not scoop it out of the dirt and the go-ahead run scored.
“It was a ball in the dirt, just tried to pick it,” Napoli said. “I’m pretty good at picking balls and didn’t come up with it.”
Farrell felt Bogaerts had time to make a better throw after backhanding the ball. Napoli seemed to think so, too.
“He could see it in front of him. You’d have to ask him,” the first baseman said.
Bogaerts left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in and was not available for comment.
The error was the ninth Bogaerts has made in 38 games at third base this season.
“Recognize that there’s a number of errors,” Farrell said. “I can’t say it’s for exactly one reason that links them all together. It’s not because of effort.”
Buchholz left the game after six innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, four walks, and two hit batters while striking out one. It was a sloppy performance.
Buchholz has given up eight earned runs on 16 hits over 12 innings in two starts since the All-Star break.
Toronto added to its lead in the seventh inning when Bautista got a first-pitch fastball right over the plate from Andrew Miller and sent it over the fence in left-center for his 18th home run.