BOSTON -- For one fleeting moment, the Fenway faithful roared with delight, as David Ortiz crushed one down the line in right with two on in the bottom of the ninth on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.
But instead of staying inside the foul pole, the blast went foul. Instead of a game-tying three-run homer, the Red Sox had a near miss in a 7-4 loss.
This is the way things are going for the defending World Series champions, who have lost five in a row, including the first four games of a six-game homestand.
The Red Sox will soon have Stephen Drew back in their lineup, but that didn't help at all in this one.
"We again created a number of opportunities," said manager John Farrell. "Xander [Bogaerts] squares a ball up that [Brett] Lawrie makes a heck of a diving play to turn into a double play. I thought our at-bats overall were better with men in scoring position. We swung the bat overall, I think, well tonight. Our hits are base hits versus the home run by them. That's the difference in tonight's game."
This is a game the Red Sox could have won if they had gotten a quality start. But Felix Doubront was hit around for five hits and five runs over four-plus innings, and he had to exit with left shoulder fatigue.
"Just wait until tomorrow to see what kind of tightness is there," said Doubront. "I felt fine during the game. Right now, I feel fine. During the game, I couldn't feel my shoulder. Weird. It felt weird."
With a 20-24 record, Boston is four games under .500 for the first time since April 15.
Bogaerts, who will move primarily to third base when Drew is activated, made two errors, giving him six on the season.
Farrell told Bogaerts of the decision to re-sign Drew on Tuesday afternoon.
"I mean, there was a lot going on today," Bogaerts said. "I don't want to make no excuses, but it was definitely a tough day."
The Jays broke the scoreless tie in loud fashion, as Edwin Encarnacion (two homers on the night) hit a prodigious blast over everything in left for a two-run shot in the top of the third.
Eric Kratz belted a solo shot to center against Doubront in the fourth to make it a 3-0 game.
In the fifth, after the Jays started out with back-to-back doubles against Doubront to make it 5-0, the southpaw was removed from the game after feeling something in his shoulder.
"He was trying to compete the best he could," said catcher David Ross. "I'm not a big body language guy. His stuff just wasn't what it usually is. He just didn't feel all that great."
Edward Mujica came on in relief, and he was again shaky, giving up four hits and two runs over 1 2/3 innings.
Any reason Mujica (8.04 ERA) can't get it going?
"Just the consistent inability to throw the ball in the bottom of the strike zone," said Farrell. "Breaking ball up to Encarnacion, a fastball in a 3-1 count to [Melky] Cabrera that he tries to go in on him. Just elevation within the zone."
The Red Sox finally put some offense together in the fifth against Toronto starter J.A. Happ, as Brock Holt led off with a double and Jackie Bradley Jr. drove him home with a double. Dustin Pedroia's RBI double to left made it a 5-2 game.
Back came the Jays in the sixth, as Cabrera hooked a solo homer down the line in right against Mujica.
Jonny Gomes cleared the Monster with a two-run shot in the sixth, slimming Toronto's lead to 7-4. It was originally ruled a double, but the call was overturned after an umpire review that lasted just 34 seconds.
In the eighth, with Boston down by three runs and runners on first and second, Farrell had Holt drop down a sacrifice bunt. Ross followed with a strikeout and Bradley popped out.
"Knowing that the top of our lineup is coming up in the ninth inning, we're just trying to cut the deficit by one or possibly by two with a base hit," said Farrell. "We've got to trust everyone in the lineup. Despite Brock having good at-bats tonight, we felt like that's what the situation called for. Didn't want to turn a three-run deficit over to [Toronto closer Casey] Janssen. We're looking to anything we can to scratch out a run."