Baseball: Blue jays 7, Red Sox 4
TORONTO ó The Boston Red Sox headed home at last in an unusual position ó last place.
Frank Thomas hit his 11th career grand slam, Vernon Wells added a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 7-4 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of the World Series champions.
Boston failed to get a boost from Josh Beckett’s first start of the season and went 3-4 on its opening three-nation trip, a journey of nearly 16,000 miles. The Red Sox are in the AL East cellar for the first time since April 10, 2005, when they were 2-4.
“It’s probably the best thing for us right now,” Kevin Youkilis said. “A lot of us are tired. We’re ready to go home,” Kevin Youkilis said. “All these different countries, different currencies, I’m kind of sick of it.”
The Red Sox split two games against the Athletics in Tokyo and swept two in Oakland before arriving in Canada. They open the home portion of their schedule Tuesday at Fenway Park against the struggling Detroit Tigers.
J.D. Drew said his teammates were feeling lifeless and beaten down.
“That’s kind of to be expected with the toll the trip takes,” Drew said. “We’re finally at the end of it, so it’s back on track when we get to Boston.”
Catcher Jason Varitek said Boston can’t rely on a return to Fenway to cure its woes.
“We need to play a little better as a whole, pitch better, play better defense,” Varitek said. “The swings will come around as a unit. I think there is a level of the trip, but we still have to play better baseball.”
Out since mid-March because of a strained lower back, Beckett was activated from the disabled list to face Roy Halladay (1-1). Beckett gave up five run, three hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings, striking out six. He reached 96 mph and threw 59 of 92 pitches for strikes.
“Obviously, it’s not the result you want, but health-wise, I felt good,” Beckett said.
With the score 2-all in the fifth, Aaron Hill singled with two outs and Beckett walked Alex Rios and Wells. Thomas sent reliever Manny Delcarmen’s first pitch into the left-field stands for his second homer of the season.