TORONTO (AP) -- The Toronto Blue Jays are losing touch with the AL East leaders.
David Ortiz and Kevin Millar hit back-to-back homers as the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays with a 7-1 victory Thursday night.Ramiro Mendoza won his second straight start and Bill Mueller went 4-for-4 for the Red Sox, who lead the majors in batting average, runs, hits, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.The Blue Jays led the majors in those categories last month, but they've lost 10 of 12, including the first three of 12 straight games against the Red Sox and the New York Yankees -- the two teams ahead of them in the AL East."This is a big sweep. This team swept us the last time we were here," said Millar, referring to a series in late May. "They played great in June, but they're not swinging the bats like they were before."The Red Sox swept Toronto for the first time since May 27-29, 2002. The Blue Jays are now eight games behind first-place New York and six behind Boston."We're in a bit of a slump. We've gone away from our approach," Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "We might be mentally exhausted. We played so well for so long. Maybe it took its toll."Toronto starter Cory Lidle (10-8) lost his fourth straight start, giving up seven runs on nine hits and four walks in five-plus innings. He now has a 5.96 ERA."I'm concerned," Tosca said. "He's throwing a lot of pitches per at-bat."Lidle didn't make himself available to the media after the game.Vernon Wells hit his 22nd homer for the Blue Jays.Staked to a 5-1 lead in the fourth, Mendoza (3-3) allowed one run on five hits in five innings. The right-hander, who struck out four and walked one, beat the Yankees in his first start of the season Saturday.Brandon Lyon, Mike Timlin and Chad Fox combined for four scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Boston's bullpen has pitched 13 1/3 scoreless innings in the last four games."We've all settled down to our roles, and everybody is pitching lights out," Fox said.Wells homered in the first, but Mueller tied it with an RBI triple in the second.Millar and Mueller hit consecutive RBI singles in the fourth before Gabe Kapler hit a two-run double, giving Boston a 5-1 lead.Ortiz led off the sixth with his 10th home run and Millar followed with his 14th, the seventh time the Red Sox have hit back-to-back homers this season.Mueller tied his career high for hits, done five times previously.
Boston manager Grady Little served a one-game suspension. He was given an automatic suspension and an undisclosed fine after Red Sox pitcher Hector Almonte was ejected in the ninth inning of a 25-8 rout of Florida on June 27. ... Little joked about Randall Simon's sausage assault in Milwaukee. "I know that he swings at everything that moves," Little said. ... Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon missed the game with a bruised hip. ... A Blue Jays starter has a win in only one of Toronto's last 16 games. ... Boston outhit Toronto 13-8.