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BOS@TOR: Bautista jacks a solo shot to center field

TORONTO -- The look of frustration seems to be building on Kyle Drabek's face with every outing he makes.

The 23-year-old has hit a bit of a rookie wall of late. Drabek has experienced locating his pitches down in the zone, and it came back to haunt him in Sunday's series finale against the Red Sox.

Drabek surrendered a career-high eight runs while the Blue Jays suffered a three-game series sweep against rival Boston in a 14-1 loss at Rogers Centre.

"I'm very frustrated right now," said Drabek, who is 1-2 with a 15.30 ERA in his past three starts. "I couldn't tell you the last real quality game that I've had. It's frustrating walking people, giving up hits, not giving your team a chance to win."

Drabek's problems began right out of the gate. He allowed a first-inning homer to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The shot to right-center field was Gonzalez's 13th home run of the season and gave Boston an early lead.

The Sox added two more in the third before delivering the final blow in the fifth. Drabek served up a 1-1 fastball that second baseman Dustin Pedroia sent over the wall in left for his fifth of the season. That put Boston up 5-0, but the damage didn't stop there.

The next two batters reached base, which had Drabek on the ropes for the final time. Drabek fell behind 1-0 to David Ortiz and then grooved a fastball down the middle that Boston's designated hitter sent into the seats in right-center for his 17th of the year.

It was the first time Drabek surrendered three home runs in one game in his career. The only previous time he allowed a multihomer game occurred on May 10 against Boston.

"I thought he had good stuff," manager John Farrell said. "He showed an improved changeup, thought he had a good cutter, good slider. But when he did get behind in the count 2-0 to Gonzalez, 1-0 to Ortiz, a lot of damage was done in those situations.

"Still lots of pitches thrown against a very patient and very dangerous type of lineup, and that's not a good combination, particularly with the way they are swinging the bat."

Drabek's nagging control problems have been well documented in recent weeks. The Texas native, who entered the game leading the Major Leagues with 48 walks, issued another four free passes on Sunday.

The righty struck out five, but he managed to throw just 45 of his 91 pitches for strikes. He has now walked at least four batters in eight of his 14 starts this season and at least three in all but one game.

Despite the recent woes on the mound, Drabek said it hasn't affected his overall approach. The righty feels good when working on his mechanics in the bullpen, but he just hasn't been able to translate that into actual games.

"You have to throw strikes to get them out," Drabek said. "You can't four-pitch walk them, because you're giving them the at-bat.

"I'm sure other people have gone through stretches like this, but for me, my mind is fine. [I'm] just getting frustrated that I haven't helped the team out lately."

Drabek began his rookie campaign in fine fashion by going 2-0 with a 3.30 ERA in his first five starts. Since that time, he has gone 2-5 with a 7.38 ERA over nine outings.

The recent woes have prompted some talk that Drabek would be best served by being sent down to Triple-A to work out his issues. Toronto made that move with left-hander Brett Cecil, who began the season with high hopes but went 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA and now finds himself in the Minor Leagues.

Farrell wasn't interested in talking about any of that speculation though. He said the club remains committed to giving Drabek every chance to succeed with the big league team.

"There hasn't been any discussion of sending Kyle to Triple-A or to suggest what he is dealing with in his own maturity right now is leading to that," Farrell emphatically stated to reporters. "So that needs to be squelched right now.

"He's learning as he goes and we're fully accepting of the growing pains that he is going to better for in time."

Toronto's offense remained relatively quiet for the third consecutive game against Boston. The lone bright spot was Jose Bautista, who snapped a 13-game homerless streak by hitting his 21st of the season.

Bautista's solo home run in the fourth was the only blemish on left-hander Jon Lester's afternoon. Lester allowed just two hits while striking out eight over eight innings.

"Fastball command was pretty good today," said Lester, who became the American League's first nine-game winner. "That's probably the best changeup I've thrown in a while.

"You're never going to be perfect out there. Even when guys throw perfect games, they're not perfect. It's just nice to go out there and be able to repeat every inning. It was a good thing to keep building off of and take into my next one."

With that, the Blue Jays were swept by Boston in a three-game series for the first time since April 26-28, 2010. They were outscored 35-6 and have lost five consecutive home games for the first time since April 8-18, 2008.

The 30 runs allowed in the final two games against the Red Sox mark the most surrendered in back-to-back games since April 15-16, 2000, against Seattle.

"I think the numbers on the scoreboard indicate that they are swinging the bat as good as they have at any point in time of the year," Farrell said of the Red Sox, who have won nine consecutive games. "You combine patience, selectivity, power, speed, that's an explosive, deep and very diverse offense -- and we saw that for 18 innings the last two days.

"I think the biggest thing is, [I'm] glad to see them leave town." Comments