It’s going to take a lot more than the return of Stephen Drew to get the stumbling Red Sox back on the right path.
The Sox changed the look of their roster, signing Drew Tuesday afternoon. They marked the occasion by losing, 7-4, against the Toronto Blue Jays before a sellout crowd of 37,904 at Fenway Park.
The Sox have lost five straight and six of their last seven. They also may have lost starting pitcher Felix Doubront, who left the mound in the fifth inning with discomfort in his shoulder.
Doubront is headed for an MRI Wednesday. The lefthander described a “weird” sensation in his shoulder that got worse the more he pitched.
The Sox are 0-4 on a six-game homestand, scoring seven runs in the first four games. They are 10-15 at Fenway.
“That’ll change,” Dustin Pedroia said. “It’s a long season. We’re in a little rut right now. We’ll find a way to get out of it. That’s what we do.”
Trailing 6-0 early, the Red Sox got back in the game and brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth, eighth, and ninth innings. But the rally died each time.
The ninth was especially painful. Pedroia and Shane Victorino led off with singles against Toronto closer Casey Janssen. But David Ortiz struck out swinging before Mike Napoli grounded into a double play to end the game.
The Sox are 4 for 28 with runners in scoring position in the last four games, 3 for 14 Tuesday night. They left nine runners on base.
“Come out tomorrow try to win. Playing winning baseball. That’s all we can do,” Pedroia said.
Doubront (2-4) gave up five runs on five hits, all for extra bases. He failed to get an out in the fifth inning before leaving the mound in the company of head athletic trainer Rick Jameyson.
Melky Cabrera (4 for 5) doubled to the left field corner in the third inning then scored on the first of two home runs by Edwin Encarnacion.
No. 8 hitter Erik Kratz, the backup catcher, homered to center in the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, hard-hit doubles by Jose Reyes and Cabrera gave Toronto a 4-0 lead. Pitching coach Juan Nieves came out to the mound to speak to Doubront. Only then did he reveal the shoulder issue.
Doubront said he “couldn’t feel” his shoulder and that affected his velocity and location. The numb feeling spread to his hand.
“I started feeling it in the second inning,” Doubront said. “I started feeling it the more I threw.”
Doubront said it was the first time he experienced such a feeling in his arm.
Tuesday night marked the third time in nine starts Doubront was unable to complete five innings. His earned run average climbed to 5.12.
The Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers are the only teams in the majors to use only five starters this season. That could change if Doubront lands on the disabled list.
Another struggling pitcher, Edward Mujica, replaced Doubront. He struck out Jose Bautista but Encarnacion hit his second home run and Toronto had a 6-0 lead.
Cabrera lined a home run off the Pesky Pole in the sixth inning. Mujica has thrown 15⅔ innings this season and allowed 14 earned runs on 23 hits — 10 for extra bases. A successful reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, Mujica has been beaten up in the American League.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the fourth against Toronto starter J.A. Happ (3-1) when Ortiz and Napoli walked before Jonny Gomes reached on an infield hit back to the pitcher.
Xander Bogaerts hit a line drive to third base that Brett Lawrie stopped from his knees. He dropped the ball but got up and tagged third before making a jump throw to the plate to get Ortiz, who had paused to see if the ball was caught.
Trailing 6-0, the Sox finally scored in the fifth inning on doubles by Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Pedroia. In the sixth, Napoli singled and Gomes belted his fourth home run to end the night for Happ.
Trailing 7-4, the Sox were back in the game. When Bogaerts and Holt singled, the crowd got interested.
David Ross tried to bunt and fouled out to Lawrie. From there, the inning ended quickly as Bradley flied to center and Pedroia struck out swinging.
In the eighth inning, Gomes singled and Bogaerts walked against Steve Delabar. This time the Red Sox bunted to get to Ross as Holt put one down.
Ross, a .167 hitter, struck out before Bradley popped out.
Farrell defended giving away two outs with his team down by three runs, saying he wanted to cut into the lead before the ninth inning.
“We’ve got to trust everyone in the lineup,” he said. “Despite Brock having good at-bats tonight, felt that’s what the situation called for. Looking for anything we can to scratch out a run.”
It’s uncharacteristic for the Red Sox to bunt so often. But they’re also losing games at a rate not seen since the nightmare 2012 season.
“We’ve got to get this fixed,” Ortiz said.