Morrow set a Blue Jays record by walking five batters in one inning as the Red Sox scored four runs in the second and went on to a 7-6 win Monday night.
Boston Red Sox
"I hate walks," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. "I just absolutely hate them because most of them score, quicker than a base hit. But his next time, hopefully, he can work it out."
The Red Sox needed just one hit in that inning to take the lead, a cushion that came in handy when John Lackey (4-1) struggled through six innings before Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon held the Blue Jays hitless. Papelbon worked the ninth for his ninth save in nine chances.
Boston trailed 4-2 heading into the second and led 6-4 after the wild streak by Morrow (2-3).
"There's something to be said for patience" at the plate, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I know Morrow was having a tough time commanding, but we didn't go out of the zone and we got some runs because of it."
Dustin Pedroia's RBI single made it 7-4 in the third. Jose Bautista hit a two-run homer, his seventh, to cut it to 7-6, but Toronto lost for the second time in nine games. Boston is 6-2 in its last eight.
Morrow, a 25-year-old right-hander in his first full season as a starter, had tied the club record of four walks in an inning on April 9 in his debut with Toronto after being traded by Seattle on Dec. 23 for Brandon League.
In 35 innings this season, Morrow has 26 walks and 46 strikeouts. In his previous two starts, he struck out nine batters each time, a career high. On Monday, he had four strikeouts and allowed three hits in 1 2-3 innings.
"I was just a mess," said Morrow, who has been working on his release point. "That's an embarrassing start to go out there and walk six in not even two innings."
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead before Morrow recorded an out. Marco Scutaro led off the first with a walk, Pedroia doubled and both scored on Victor Martinez's single. Morrow then struck out the next three batters.
The Blue Jays went ahead with four runs in the second before Lackey retired a batter. They loaded the bases on a walk to Lyle Overbay, a double by Alex Gonzalez and a walk to Bautista. John Buck then doubled in two runs, and Travis Snider and Fred Lewis singled in one each.
"He was really struggling to find his command, " Francona said. "He reeled it in and he competed without his best stuff tonight and got us deep enough where our guys in the bullpen could do their job, and they did it really well."
Lackey's problems were eclipsed by Morrow's meltdown in the bottom of the second.
Boston loaded the bases on walks to Jeremy Hermida, Jonathan Van Every and Scutaro. Pedroia also walked, forcing home a run with one out. Martinez then grounded to shortstop Gonzalez, who threw to second for a forceout. But Aaron Hill's throw to first trying for an inning-ending double play sailed into Boston's dugout for an error as Van Every and Scutaro scored.
The Red Sox then drew their fifth walk of the inning, by Kevin Youkilis, before David Ortiz's RBI single gave them a 6-4 lead, chasing Morrow. Josh Roenicke walked his first batter, Adrian Beltre, bringing the total for the inning to six. But he retired the next batter, ending the second.
The long wait to return to the mound didn't hurt Lackey.
"You'll never hear me complain about runs," he said. "I'll wait all night as long as they want to hit."
Lackey pitched a scoreless third and fourth and retired the first two batters in the fifth before Gonzalez singled and Bautista homered with two outs. But Lackey retired the next batter and finished his night with a perfect sixth.
"It was not real pretty," Gaston said. "We still hung in there and lost by a run, but a loss is a loss."Notes
- Boston RF J.D. Drew was a late scratch from the starting lineup with vertigo.
- Josh Beckett's next start was pushed back two days to Friday night in Detroit to give him time to work on his problems. He's allowed at least seven earned runs in three of his last four outings. Tim Wakefield will take his place Wednesday against Toronto.
- With the bases loaded this year, Blue Jays pitchers have issued seven walks and hit two batters with pitches.
- Umpires reviewed Gonzalez's hit near the top of the left-field wall and stuck with their original decision of a double instead of changing it to a homer.