The weather remained sublime, the baseball didn't.
The Red Sox fell last night, 7-3, to Toronto in a game that offered scant reminders of their three-game weekend sweep of the Yankees. Their five-game winning streak came to an end; the Blue Jays, meanwhile, won for the first time after losing five straight.
There were home runs, but none by the Sox for the first time in 10 games, after a night when they claimed a spot in the record book with four straight and five overall. Frank Thomas, newly ensconced in the American League East but long a great Fenway Park hitter (.333, 17 home runs, 54 RBIs) hit a two-run blast, the 490th of his career, off Tim Wakefield in the sixth, when the Jays seized the lead for good.
Wakefield berated himself for walking Vernon Wells ahead of Thomas to open the inning.
"Shouldn't have happened," he said. "With Vernon's speed at first, I tried to be a little too fast. I tried to get Dougie [Mirabelli] a chance to possibly throw him out, and I just left the ball up."
Aaron Hill, who had four hits, belted a two-run home run in the ninth off Mike Timlin, who kept his head (literally) when he caught Gregg Zaun's savage liner at nose level. But after that play, Timlin served up an 0-and-2 pitch that Hill lost over the Monster in left-center field.
"That's the first hit he's had off me," Timlin said of the 25-year-old second baseman, one of the better young infielders in the AL, who had gone 0 for 6 against Timlin. "He's hot right now. He's swinging the bat well."
Timlin could be excused if he was still slightly dazed after being staggered by Zaun's liner.
"You just hope it doesn't catch flesh from the neck up," Timlin said. "I threw the glove up and caught it. It scared the [expletive] out of me."
The Sox gloves weren't quite as reliable when they weren't playing self-defense. A night after rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia saved the Sox with a terrific catch, the defense turned wobbly. After Wells dropped a two-out double 6 feet short of the Wall over a shallow-playing Manny Ramírez, Mirabelli threw a ball past third baseman Mike Lowell in the first when Wells stole third, allowing Wells to come home.
"Frank Thomas is so big," Lowell said of the man who was at the plate when Wells took off, "it's almost impossible to throw around him."
To Mirabelli, the throw did more than allow an unearned run to score. "I kind of forced a throw that I didn't need to make," he said, "and that kind of set a tone that got us off on the wrong foot."
Lowell made a two-base error in the second inning, his sixth miscue of the season, matching his total in 153 games last year.
"It hit my glove and kicked up more than I thought it would," Lowell said. "The only saving grace is they didn't score. Trust me, I breathed a sigh of relief as big as anybody."
Center fielder Wily Mo Peña, playing for a tender Coco Crisp (tight oblique) wasn't charged with an error, but he stumbled and fell after being turned around on Wells's ninth-inning liner over his head, allowing Wells to sprint around the bases for a triple. Wells, who had walked ahead of Thomas's home run, scored ahead of Hill's homer.
There was a strong effort by a Japanese pitcher, but this one was wearing a Toronto uniform. Tomo Ohka, who broke into the big leagues with Boston and was taken deep three times by the Sox last week in Toronto, limited the Sox to three runs (two earned) in five innings, the only damage done by Pedroia's two-run double in the fifth.
"He mixed up his ball good, and had a lot of run on his fastball," Lowell said. "We couldn't get three, four, five at-bats in a row where we were able to square up on the ball."
And the bullpen that had been all but untouchable for a week -- one run allowed in 14 innings over six games, a span that included two wins and five saves -- took its lumps.
Hill doubled off Joel Piñeiro in the eighth, took third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Adam Lind off J.C. Romero to make it 5-3. John McDonald followed with a double and Alex Rios was walked intentionally, before Lyle Overbay was retired on an infield out.
Timlin was unable to keep it close in the ninth.
The offense? The first four hitters in the Sox lineup managed just a single (by Kevin Youkilis in the first inning).
Ohka departed after Lowell singled to open the sixth, Peña followed with a base hit off reliever Casey Janssen, and a run scored when McDonald threw away Julio Lugo's two-out grounder. But Youkilis bounced into a force play to end the inning.
The Sox managed just one hit, Mirabelli's single, the rest of the way.
"Kind of a lethargic day today," Mirabelli said.
Was he concerned, after the high drama of the Yankee series, that might happen?
"Never crossed my mind," he said. "I'm not speaking for anyone else, but my body just didn't seem as energetic. Late game the night before, didn't fall asleep until late in the morning."
The Blue Jays had come in from Baltimore, where they'd lost three straight, and were reeling from the news that closer B.J. Ryan had been transferred to the 60-day disabled list with elbow trouble.
"I thought Ohka was great," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We needed that."