TORONTO (AP) — For the second time this week, the stumbling Boston Red Sox followed up a loss with a team meeting.
After a sixth defeat in seven games, frustrated manager John Farrell said roster changes could be the next step.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer, Josh Donaldson had three hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Boston 7-1 on Saturday.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz were among the players who spoke up in a brief postgame meeting.
“We had a little talk,” Ortiz said. “Hopefully things change.”
They haven’t changed much since five days ago, when Farrell spoke to his players in the wake of a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay, Boston’s fourth straight.
The Red Sox have lost 14 of 20 since a 7-3 start, and Farrell suggested that roles could be shuffled to try and turn things around.
“That’s always under review and I can’t say that we’re status quo,” Farrell said.
Hanley Ramirez returned to Boston’s lineup after missing the previous three games with a sprained left shoulder, while Ortiz was back at DH after serving a one-game suspension Friday.
The reinforcements didn’t help, however, as Boston went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left nine stranded.
“You find out a lot about yourself, the team, everybody, when you go through tough times,” Pedroia said. “We’ve got to try to find a way to come together and play better. That’s the bottom line.”
Joe Kelly (1-2) came in 5-0 in eight career road games against AL East opponents but couldn’t maintain his unbeaten record. He walked a career-high seven and allowed six runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings
“Obviously we’re not playing the way we’re supposed to be playing or are capable of,” Kelly said. “It’s a tough stretch.”
Kelly is winless in five starts and has allowed 21 earned runs over 21 1-3 innings in his past four outings.
Encarnacion had two hits and walked twice. Donaldson scored two runs and drove in one as Toronto won its third straight.
Russell Martin put the Blue Jays in front with a sacrifice fly in the first. It was the 24th first-inning run allowed by Boston in 30 games. They’re 5-15 when the opposition scores first.
Donaldson hit an RBI single in the second and Encarnacion hammered a hanging curveball for a two-out homer in the fourth, his fifth.
“He got the breaking ball and smoked it,” manager John Gibbons said. “Hopefully that’s the start of something big for him.”
Drew Hutchison (3-0) won for the first time in three starts, allowing one run and seven hits in five innings.
Pedroia snapped Boston’s 14-inning scoreless drought with an RBI single in the fifth, but the Blue Jays added single runs in the sixth and seventh.
WILLIS ON THE WAY
After the game, the Red Sox announced that Carl Willis had been hired as pitching coach to replace Juan Nieves, who was fired Thursday. Willis had been working for Cleveland’s Triple-A team in Columbus. Willis previously was the pitching coach for Seattle and Cleveland, holding that role with the Indians while Farrell was the team’s director of player development.
Encarnacion homered and stole a base in the same game for the first time since April 29, 2012, against Seattle. It’s the third time in his career he’s pulled off the feat.
Blue Jays SS Ryan Goins made a sliding catch on Allen Craig’s broken-bat flare in the fourth. OF Kevin Pillar ended the game with a leaping catch at the wall in center.
Red Sox: OF Shane Victorino (right hamstring) went 0 for 3 in his second rehab game at Double-A Portland. Victorino left the game after seven innings. He’s expected to join the Red Sox Sunday. … Brock Holt was away from the team Saturday to attend a family funeral. He’s expected back Sunday.
Blue Jays: OF Michael Saunders (left knee) returned after sitting out the past four games. Saunders, who underwent knee surgery in spring training, had a cortisone shot and had fluid drained from his knee Monday.
Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz (1-4, 6.03) has allowed five earned runs in each of his past two starts, including an April 28 home outing against Toronto. He’s lost four straight decisions since winning his season-opening start at Philadelphia.
Blue Jays: RHP R.A. Dickey (1-3, 4.38) is coming of his best outing of the season, allowing one run over eight innings in a victory over the Yankees. He lost his only start against Boston on April 29, matching a season-high by allowing nine hits.