TORONTO -- After enduring a second pounding in as many starts, John Lackey didn't really know what to say.
He grasped for words, just like he was searching for a way to get out of a game-breaking seventh-inning jam in Wednesday night's 9-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
"Everything went wrong that could go wrong," Lackey said. "It's pretty much the story of the whole [darn] year. I don't know what happened tonight. I threw the ball way better than I did my last start."
Yet the results, marred by a five-run bottom of the seventh, looked all too similar.
Over 6 2/3 innings, Lackey gave up nine hits and nine runs. He walked five and struck out just one. In his last two starts, he's given up 19 hits and 17 runs over 10 2/3 innings.
Lackey is 2-5 on the season with an 8.01 ERA. He opened the year with two rough outings, then had three good ones in a row before being rocked again the last two times.
"I'll keep working hard," said Lackey. "It's got to turn something [around]. Everything in my life [stinks] right now, to be honest with you."
Given a chance to elaborate on what might be troubling him off the field, Lackey declined.
He is far from alone in the frustration department. After narrowly missing a chance to get to .500 for the first time on Tuesday, Boston wound up being swept in this two-game series to fall to 17-20 on the season.
The Red Sox will regroup for an off-day in New York on Thursday and then open a three-game rivalry showdown at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
The off-day is Boston's only one in the month of May. It comes at a good time for a team that expects a lot out of itself.
"You struggle and you go through tough losses and stuff like that, it affects you mentally," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "It beats you up physically, too, and it wears you down. It will be good to take a deep breath and then go out there and start over, man. Just play the game. That's all we've got to do right now is play."
Early on, this looked like it might be a decent night for the Sox.
Adrian Gonzalez, who has been red-hot, hammered a two-run double off the wall in center. Kevin Youkilis smacked an RBI single to left and Lackey had a 1-0 lead.
The righty kept it right there until the bottom of the third, when Rajai Davis opened a rally with a single to left. After a walk by Yunel Escobar, Corey Patterson tied the game on an RBI single to right. Aaron Hill made it 2-1 Toronto with a fielder's-choice grounder that Youkilis made a terrific stop on.
Back came the Jays for more in the fourth. John McDonald, who isn't known for his power, hit a one-out solo shot to left. Davis followed with a single and then repeated his feat of Tuesday, stealing second and third. That put him in position to score on a sac fly by Escobar that made it 4-1.
In particular, Lackey seethed at not being able to handle McDonald, who came into the night 3-for-19 against the righty lifetime.
"You can't give up hits to him when you've got other guys in that lineup that can hurt you," Lackey said.
But the Red Sox got two solo shots in the sixth, from Gonzalez and David Ortiz, and suddenly it was a one-run game. Gonzalez has six homers in his last nine games.
"We made a semi-mistake on him," said Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia. "It wasn't even that much of a mistake. The guy is getting paid what he's getting paid for a reason. Right now, he's hot, he's one of those guys that are hot and fortunately today it didn't really hurt us."
In the seventh, Carl Crawford led off with a single and tried to help his team get the tying run with his speed. However, he was thrown out trying to steal as Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for a back-breaking double play.
Making that near miss even more painful was the way things unraveled in the bottom of the inning.
"We get back to 4-3, looked like we had a chance, then they come out in the seventh and spread it out and it changes the whole game," said manager Terry Francona.
In that seventh, Patterson led off with a walk. Jose Bautista hit a rocket to left that looked to be headed over the wall, only to bounce off the wall, out of the reach of a leaping Crawford. It wound up as a single.
"It looked like it was leaving the yard, then it started to sail back," Crawford said. "I got caught up in between."
After two quick outs, things digressed quickly for Lackey and the Sox. Arencibia walked to load the bases and Lackey forced in a run with another walk. McDonald belted a two-run double, and that was all for Lackey.
"We wanted to give [Lackey] a chance at least through McDonald," Francona said. "He'd had success against him. Bringing in [Tim Wakefield] with the bases loaded, that's probably not the easiest task in the world."
Wakefield came on and gave up a two-run single to Davis, closing the line on Lackey.
The righty will try to get back on track on Tuesday at Fenway against the Orioles.
"I think it's a little bit different every night," Francona said when asked about his struggles. "Tonight he showed his fastball, then went to the breaking ball, and that's OK, but he left a few down the middle."