Moonshots pave way for Blue Jays' victory

Moonshots pave way for Blue Jays' victory

Moonshots pave way for Blue Jays' victory
BOSTON -- On a night when the Blue Jays' starting rotation was dealt another blow, the offense helped pick up the slack against their American League East rivals.

Toronto's recent hot streak at the plate continued as the club scored at least six runs for the seventh time in nine games.

The Blue Jays received home runs from Colby Rasmus, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista, but also saw Henderson Alvarez depart with soreness in his right elbow during a 9-6 victory over the Red Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park.

"The top of our order has really been on a good run here of late," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "You look at what Rasmus has done in the two-hole -- has been outstanding.

"Brett [Lawrie], once again, sets the tone by getting on base from the get-go. ... The top of the order has really swung the bat well the last couple of weeks."

The night started out on a positive note for the Blue Jays as they scored early and often against left-hander Felix Doubront. After Lawrie led off the game with a single, Rasmus followed with a two-run shot just inside the foul pole down the right-field line. Rasmus' 14th of the season was also his second in the past three games.

Toronto's attack continued later in the frame as Bautista reached on an error and Edwin Encarnacion followed with an RBI double off the Green Monster. When it was all said and done in the first, the Blue Jays sent seven batters to the plate and scored four runs.

The Blue Jays added one more in the second, but then went into an offensive slumber until the sixth. With the game tied at 5, Arencibia sent a 1-0 fastball over the Green Monster for a two-run shot. Arencibia's 10th of the season was also his first since a two-homer performance on May 27.

"Any time you can get that kind of production throughout the lineup, it's always going to be a good night offensively, and that was the case tonight," Farrell said of his No. 9 hitter.

"He has been pressing a little bit, expanding the zone occasionally, he got a base hit the other night with two RBIs going the other way, but to see him swing the bat with a little bit of authority on a changeup that he got down on the plate and hit it out of the ballpark was a good thing," Farrell said.

Doubront finished out the inning, but he was then removed from the game. He allowed seven runs -- five earned -- on 11 hits while striking out two. Toronto's onslaught of homers continued as Bautista got into the action in the seventh with a two-run shot. Bautista's 24th of the year came off Matt Albers and helped put the game out of reach for the Red Sox.

"I think he was trying to throw a lot of strikes and didn't want to waste a lot of pitches, and seems like a lot of them got hit," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "Not that they were all hit hard, that's for sure. I'd say he gave up six or seven hits off the end of the bat or jammed. About four of them were hit hard. Wasn't his best outing, but he'll improve on that."

Despite being staked to a 4-0 lead, Alvarez struggled during the early going. His velocity was up and there was more movement on his sinker but he still allowed two runs in the first and two more in the third as the Blue Jays' lead began to evaporate. The five-run cushion disappeared in the fourth, when Ryan Kalish hit an RBI single to score Cody Ross.

Alvarez got through the fifth and came back out for the sixth before he was forced to depart with a right elbow injury. Toronto's second-year hurler left having allowed all five runs -- three earned -- on six hits and one walk while striking out two.

It had the potential to be yet another devastating blow to a team that already has three-fifths of its starting rotation on the disabled list. Kyle Drabek is gone for the year because of Tommy John surgery while Brandon Morrow and Drew Hutchison are not expected back any time soon.

Add in the Spring Training injuries to Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch, and the club has, potentially, six starters not available for action. Toronto has already been forced to use Brett Cecil, Jesse Chavez and Aaron Laffey as replacements.

It appears that disaster has been averted, though, as Alvarez said after the game his elbow felt fine and he doesn't expect this to become a serious injury.

"When he went out for the sixth inning, he had some difficulty getting loose," Farrell said. "It wasn't any one particular pitch that he felt anything on and I think the fact that we scored some runs, we had a couple of long innings, he just tightened up a little bit.

"As a precautionary move, we got him out of the game and he'll be sent for an MRI just to rule out any type of structural issues or anything like that."

Alvarez echoed those statements and said he remains hopeful that he won't be forced to miss a start.

"I felt fine after the game," said Alvarez, who also earned his first victory since May 13. "I felt a little bit of pain, and then probably half an hour after that, I felt much better."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.