TORONTO (AP)—The Boston Red Sox headed home at last in an unusual position— last place.
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 (0-1) was activated from the disabled list to face Roy Halladay (1-1). Beckett gave up five run,s 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.
Manager Terry Francona said Beckett looked sharp before starting to tire.
“Early in the game, he was throwing the ball knee-high with good velocity, nice and free and easy, and staying in his delivery,” Francona said. “In the fifth, I thought his legs were starting to go.”
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 and second in as many days.
“He’s a dangerous hitter,” Francona said. “We knew that before, and we know it now. Manny just didn’t locate his fastball where he wanted to, and it ran back over the middle.”
The crowd of 30,114 called Thomas out of the dugout for a curtain call after his slam, the 515th homer of his career. Thomas also had a a two-run double off Delcarmen in Toronto’s 6-3 victory Friday. He went 4-for-12 with eight RBIs in the series.
“He’s had my number that last two times I’ve thrown,” Delcarmen said.
Halladay gave up four runs and eight hits in eight innings, struck out six and walked one. Jeremy Accardo pitched the ninth for his third save in as many chances.
“To start off that way, where we’re playing sound defensively, pitching well and to see the bats come in and take advantage of chances, it’s nice to see that early on,” Halladay said.
Wells brought Rios home with a two-run drive in the fourth, his fifth career homer against Beckett. He improved to 9-for-27 against Beckett but said the hard-throwing Texan was as tough as ever.
“Same as usual,” Wells said. “It’s not a fun at-bat. It’s fun to face him because he’s going to throw everything at you. Everything is going to be hard.”
Toronto, outhit 10-5 in the game, managed to hold Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in check for a third straight day. The pair finished 3-for-22 with two RBIs in the series.
Boston has lost seven straight in Toronto dating to last year.
“They played better than us here, that’s for sure,” Francona said. “They did pretty much everything better than us, and I include myself in that group. We certainly need to do better here.”
Ellsbury is 4-for-6 with two career homers against Halladay. … Boston made four errors, three by shortstop Julio Lugo. … Boston RHP Kyle Snyder was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Beckett. … Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon threw out the first pitch.