TORONTO (AP) — JD Martinez drove into the tiebreaking point when he was hit by a basesloaded pitch in the 10th inning and the Boston Red Stockings beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on Wednesday-evening, avoiding a three-game sweep.
“It’s a big one,” Martinez said. “We lost it last night. To avoid the sweep at this point was a big one. †
Alex Verdugo homered with two runs and had four RBI’s, and Franchy Cordero had his first four-hit game of his career as Boston recovered from Tuesday’s 6-5 loss and won for the third time in 10 games this season against Toronto .
“It’s hard to win here,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
The Red Sox, who are off Thursday, won 20-6 in June, their most wins in the month since they won 20-9 in 1990.
“We played solid baseball,” Cora said. “We have gained some ground. We are putting ourselves in the play-off hunt.”
With automatic runner Jackie Bradley Jr. at second base to start the 10th, Blue Jays righthander David Phelps (0-2) walked Rob Refsnyder and Rafael Devers to load the bases for Martinez, who had been hitless in his previous 13 at bats.
Bradley scored when Phelps hit Martinez in the back with a 1-2 delivery.
Martinez had a round red bump on his back in the clubhouse after that, but didn’t seem to mind.
“It was worth it,” he said.
Tim Mayza came up and got Xander Bogaerts grounded into a double play but Verdugo followed with a two-run double to make it 6-3.
Matt Strahm (3-2) struckout Bo Bichette and Guerrero in the ninth, but gave up an RBI single to Santiago Espinal and an RBI double to Cavan Biggio in the 10th. Strahm ended up getting it through George Springer to fly out.
Both banks and both bullpens cleared after right-handed Red Sox Nick Pivetta hit Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk on the left elbow in the third. After Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo left the dugout, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of Blue Jays over the dugout fence and started yelling at Pivetta, who yelled back. Devers stepped in front of Guerrero as other players rushed to join the melee, but no punches were thrown.
“I don’t hit a lot of guys,” Pivetta said. “I think it was unfair how they reacted. That’s not what I’m trying to do in that situation.”
Montoyo seemed unconvinced that the irascible Kirk hadn’t been drilled on purpose.
“I don’t know what the intentions were,” Montoyo said. “I just know what I know, but I’m keeping it to myself.”
Springer hit his 15th home run, a solo shot in the fifth.
Toronto opened the score on Espinal’s two-out RBI single in the second, but Boston answered in the third on Refsnyder’s sacrifice fly, a drive to the deep center that sent Springer down.
Springer gave the Blue Jays the lead with his leadoff explosion in the fifth, but the Red Sox retook the lead in the sixth. Bogaerts reached on a two-out infield single and Verdugo followed with a drive to the right, his sixth.
The Blue Jays tied it in the eighth against Ryan Brasier and battled the Boston bullpen for the second night in a row. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit an one-out double and was replaced by pinch-runner Bradley Zimmer, who scored when Raimel Tapia followed with a double to the middle. The blown save was Boston’s 16th in 33 chances.
Pivetta gave up two runs and five hits in more than six innings. He walked three and struckout five batters.
Blue Jays righthander Alek Manoah gave up three runs, two earned and six hits in seven innings. He walked once and struckout six.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (right hip) threw a bullpen session before the game, his second in three days. Cora said Whitlock could return in an auxiliary role when activated.
SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?
A day after his team lost a 6-5 lead from the ninth inning, Cora said he was willing to bet his roster would be more complete when Boston returns north of the border for a run of three. matches from September 30. Boston finale Tanner Houck, who has six saves, has missed two trips to Toronto this season because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccination status of injured LHP Chris Sale is unclear.
Toronto completed the signing of RHP Sergio Romo to a one-year deal. RHP Shaun Anderson was given the option to move to Triple-A Buffalo to make way on the Major League roster, while LHP Tayler Saucedo (right hip) was transferred to the 60-day IL to secure a spot on the 40-man roster to open. Romo was cut by Seattle on June 20.
Romo gave a wry assessment of his appeal to other big league teams after being cut by the Mariners.
“I’m 39 and throwing 85,” said Romo.
Red Sox: LHP Rich Hill (4-4, 4.09) opens Friday as the Red Sox visit Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs. The Cubs have not yet named a starter for Friday.
Blue Jays: LHP Yusei Kikuchi (2-4, 5.08) opens Thursday as the Blue Jays open a unique five-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays, including a doubleheader on Saturday. The Rays have not yet named a starter for Thursday.
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