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Red Sox Spring Training 2012: Shaky Pitching And Quiet Bats Sink Sox Against Jays

The Red Sox' bats could not back up an inconsistent performance from the pitching staff Tuesday night, leaving the Blue Jays 9-2 victors in Fort Myers.

While Bard seemed poised to make up for his rain-interrupted implosion against St. Louis after a strong first inning saw him retire the side in order, the reliever-turned-starter would struggle mightily in the second. Losing control of both his fastball and slider, Bard would load the bases with no outs in the second on two walks and a bloop single before leaving a fastball over the plate to Travis Snider. Snider would get on top of the ball a bit, but managed to shoot a hard ground ball past Nick Punto at third and into the corner in left field, bringing two runs around. A sacrifice fly would bring a third run in before Bard escaped with a ground ball and strikeout.

Bard would continue to struggle with his command into the third before finally settling down some in the fourth, finishing the night by retiring eight straight batters. While Bard was not at his best throughout, his velocity stayed in the mid-90s even 75 pitches in, which is certainly a good sign for a pitcher in Bard's situation.

The Red Sox would fight back at first, with Kelly Shoppach slamming a two-run shot off of Toronto starter Aaron Laffey in the bottom half of the second. Those runs would keep the Sox in it for the next few innings, but the Jays would pull away late. Called on to face a lefty, Jesse Carlson would give up a hit before quickly being pulled for Michael Bowden, who gave up three hits of his own to leave both Carlson and himself with an earned run apiece.

Andrew Miller would enter the game next, but before finishing even his first at bat had to be taken out with what appeared to be a hip injury. Doug Mathis would relieve him, and allow the Jays to score twice more to make it 7-2 after seven innings. Matt Albers followed suit with a two-run ninth aided by Pedro Ciriaco coming up short on a fly ball to center as he tried to show some versatility in the outfield. With no rally forthcoming in the bottom half of the inning, the Sox fell for the second straight night, 9-2.