Wakefield takes another crack at win No. 200 versus Jays

Boston hasn't been on a losing streak this long since the start of the season and it has the club's grip on a playoff spot getting weaker and weaker.

The Red Sox hope a return to Fenway Park -- and possibly Tim Wakefield's 200th career victory -- can get the club back on track tonight in the first of two straight versus the Toronto Blue Jays.

Boston's current five-game slide is the club's longest since it opened the season 0-6. The Red Sox won just twice in their first 12 games before finally hitting their stride and taking over first place in the American League East by late May.

That rally is now in danger of being moot as the Red Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games and kick off a 10-game stay at home this evening following a seven-game road trip in which they won just once. After losing three of four in Toronto, Boston was swept in three games by Tampa Bay.

The three setbacks to the Rays trimmed the Red Sox's edge over them for the American League Wild Card spot to just 3 1/3 games, and Tampa Bay shaved another half-game off that deficit by winning on Monday while Boston sat idle.

The Red Sox, who also now trail the Yankees by four games for first in the AL East, were dealt a 9-1 loss on Sunday, with Marco Scutaro's homer accounting for the lone run. Jon Lester, meanwhile, lasted just four frames and allowed four runs on eight hits.

"Uncharacteristically, he just scattered balls, and by the pitch count you could tell how hard they made him work," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona of Lester, who threw 111 pitches. "It was just uncomfortable. That's just a lot."

The Red Sox get two games to regroup before the Rays come to town for four games this weekend. Boston's David Ortiz feels things will go differently at Fenway.

"I think going back to the house will help us," Ortiz told Boston's website. "We play better at the house. This road trip was pretty bad. We need to come back fresh on Tuesday and try to go back to where we were."

The Red sox have won five of seven at home over the Blue Jays this season, taking nine of 16 in the season series overall so far.

Wakefield was at 199 career wins following a victory on July 24, but is 0-3 with a 4.79 earned run average in eight games, including seven starts, since. He got enough run support to win last time out on Wednesday in Toronto, but the bullpen blew a three-run lead in an 11-10 loss.

The right-hander was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on three hits and three walks over five innings, giving him a 5.03 ERA this year to go along with a 6-6 record. The 45-year-old Wakefield is 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA in four games against the Blue Jays in 2011, including two starts.

Brandon Morrow started opposite of Wakefield for the Blue Jays and avoided the loss thanks to the club's rally. Morrow went into the start having lost three straight and five of his past six starts and was rocked for eight runs on eight hits and a walk over 4 1/3 innings.

Morrow has a 13.83 ERA in three games versus the Red Sox this year, allowing 21 runs over 13 2/3 innings, and is 1-2 with a 9.70 ERA against them lifetime. Jacoby Ellsbury, who is riding a 16-game hitting streak, is 5-for-9 with a homer and five RBI against the right-hander this year, while Ortiz and Jason Varitek have also taken him deep.

The 27-year-old Morrow is 9-10 with a 5.12 ERA in 26 starts this year, but that includes a 5-2 mark and 2.97 ERA in 11 road games.

Toronto has won five of its last seven games and bested the Orioles, 6-5, on Sunday. Jose Bautista broke a seventh-inning tie with a sacrifice fly to guide his team.

Former Orioles pitcher Adam Loewen started in center field and homered in the seventh frame, as did David Cooper.