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Lester trade appears more likely as Boston pulls ace from rotation after 4-2 loss to Toronto

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BOSTON - A year after bolstering their rotation at the trade deadline, it looks as if the Boston Red Sox are exploring the market again.

This time, they are likely sellers.

After a 4-2 loss to Toronto on Tuesday night, manager John Farrell announced a move indicating the Red Sox are seriously considering offers for ace Jon Lester before Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.

Lester will sit out his scheduled start against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

"In light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it's probably in everyone's best interest that he does not make that start," Farrell said.

Although no deal was imminent, a trade sending Lester (10-7, 2.52 ERA) to a contender seemed much more likely after Farrell's announcement. And it did nothing to lift the spirits in Boston's clubhouse after the Red Sox lost for the seventh time in eight games.

"Obviously we're not in the position that we want to be in. We haven't played very well and our record shows that. That's why you hear all those rumours," Dustin Pedroia said. "It's something you don't like going through. It makes you feel worse. We don't want to be in this position."

Pedroia's RBI double in the third drove in Boston's only run until Xander Bogaerts' solo homer in the ninth inning cut Toronto's lead to 4-2.

Marcus Stroman had his second solid start against Boston in five days and Colby Rasmus hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who won for the ninth time in 11 games and improved to 9-3 against the Red Sox this season.

Stroman (7-2) held Boston to one run and six hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking two. He took a no-hitter into the seventh last Thursday before giving up Shane Victorino's leadoff single for his only hit allowed in seven innings.

Casey Janssen got the final three outs for his 17th save despite giving up Bogaerts' homer.

Rubby De La Rosa (3-4) gave up three runs on nine hits in six innings.

The Blue Jays beat Boston in the opener of a three-game series on Monday.

Gose's two-out, two-run double snapped a 1-all tie and pushed the Blue Jays ahead in the sixth. Juan Francisco and Rasmus singled before advancing on Munenori Kawasaki's sacrifice bunt.

Rasmus' homer into the centre field bleachers gave Toronto a 1-0 lead in the second, but Boston tied it on Pedroia's RBI double.

RUNS RARE FOR SOX

The Red Sox have scored six runs in their last four games and were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.

"We had probably three opportunities when we had multiple men on base and the timely hit was elusive," Farrell said. "It's been opportunities created — and left at that."

UNASSISTED

Mike Carp started at first base for Boston and ended the top of the seventh with a solo double play. Carp caught a line drive hit right to him by Dioner Navarro, then stepped on first base before Melky Cabrera had any chance of getting back. Cabrera led off the inning with a single. Cabrera was the first batter Edward Mujica faced after relieving starter Rubby De La Rosa.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: Infielder Brett Lawrie, on the disabled list since late June with a broken right index finger, began hitting off a tee late last week. On Monday, the team acquired Danny Valencia from Kansas City for a pair of players to give them depth at third while Lawrie works his way back. Manager John Gibbons said Valencia will face "a lot of lefties."

Red Sox: First baseman Mike Napoli had what manager John Farrell called a "down day" due to swelling on the ring finger of his left hand.

ON DECK

Blue Jays: Mark Buehrle (10-7, 3.19 ERA) goes in the series finale, trying to snap his six-game losing streak since his last win on June 1. He's 1-1 against the Red Sox this season, beating them in Fenway on May 22 when he went seven innings, allowing two runs. He gave up seven runs — six earned — in the loss at home on April 25.

Red Sox: With Lester's future in limbo, Farrell said RHP Brandon Workman would be recalled from Triple-A Pawtuckett and get the start.

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