TORONTO -- The Red Sox came out swinging Wednesday night against the Blue Jays, attempting to set the tone with three hits to the start the game, capped by a three-run blast to deep right field from David Ortiz.
The good news ended there for the Red Sox, who allowed the Blue Jays to draw even by the time they took their next at-bat. Boston briefly reclaimed a one-run lead, but ultimately stumbled in the sixth and seventh innings as they dropped their second straight game, 6-4, at Rogers Centre.
"We jump out to a quick three runs on the first three hitters of the game, and I thought we did a good job of creating more opportunities that followed," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "But to their credit, they bunched some hits together to answer back."
After winning the series opener Monday, the best the Red Sox can hope for is a split of the four-game set, which concludes Thursday afternoon.
The Red Sox got to Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey immediately, with Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia leading off the game with back-to-back singles. Ortiz brought them home with his fourth homer of the series -- a moon shot to right -- and the 37th of his career at Rogers Centre. He's hit more home runs at the stadium than any other visiting player.
But that was quickly undone by a three-run first from the Blue Jays. Boston starter Clay Buchholz gave the club a brief scare in the opening frame, when he took a two-out combacker from Munenori Kawasaki off the side of the head after theball bounced off the turf. The right-hander looked shaken as he remained seated on the ground for a few seconds following the play. He was quickly tended to by the team medical staff, and after a few warmup pitches, resumed play.
"It dazed me for sure," said Buchholz, who wasn't feeling any lingering effects postgame. "Anytime you get hit with a ball, it's going to take you a second. Once I got up and sort of got my bearings straight, I felt fine."
The Red Sox had a golden opportunity to break the tie in the fourth when Dickey walked Stephen Drew to lead off the inning. Kawasaki then committed a throwing error on a Christian Vazquez grounder, allowing Drew to reach third and Vazquez to go second, putting two in scoring position with no out.
But Dickey fanned Jackie Bradley Jr. and Victorino before Pedroia grounded out to end the threat. Dickey earned the win, going six innings while allowing nine hits and four earned runs with five strikeouts.
"That term 'bare down,' with a knuckleball, it's kind of tough. What I really did, better, is that I kind of let up on the gas," Dickey said of working out of the jam in the fourth. "I was really changing speeds a lot tonight, because I needed to. My harder knuckleball wasn't moving like it normally does, so the change of speeds really helped me fight through some innings."
The Red Sox pulled ahead again in the fifth. Daniel Nava hit a ground-rule double before Xander Bogaerts doubled him home, giving Boston a 4-3 lead.
But the lead, too, was short-lived. In the sixth, Buchholz issued a one-out walk to Josh Thole before Ryan Goins sent an RBI triple to right, tying it at 4.
The backbreaker came on the next play. With two away, Jose Reyes sent a grounder to third that should've spelled the end of the inning. But a misfire on the throw from Bogaerts allowed Goins to cross, giving the Blue Jays their first lead at 5-4.
Buchholz went six innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits and four walks as he fell to 5-6.
"On a night where Buchholz might not have had his best stuff or been his sharpest, I thought he had the ability to navigate through some things and keep us in the game and give us a chance to win as we get to the middle innings," said Farrell. "The two runs in the sixth obviously proved large."
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.