Records Entering Series: BOS (26-11, T-1st in AL East), TOR (20-18, 3rd in AL East)
Boston did exactly what they wanted to do and took 2 of 3 from Toronto north of the border. After dropping game 1 (despite a masterpiece from Chris Sale), the Sox rallied to take the final two games in a tightly contested series between the division foes.
The Red Sox bullpen bounced back from a horrid stretch to pitch lights out in the final two games, and the offense did just enough to propel the team.
They’ll now return to Boston for a nice little home stand after spending the previous 11 days on the road.
Game 1: BOS-3, TOR-5
(Photo credit: ESPN)
Boston opened the scoring in the top of the 1st with an RBI groundout by Martinez that scored Betts. Toronto got that run right back, though, when Donaldson singled home Hernandez to make it 1-1.
They added another in the 2nd with a Maile single that scored Morales, but the Sox responded in the 4th. Bogaerts led off the 4th with a solo home run, then Holt scored later on from a freak play that saw Leon strike out but reach base on a throwing error by the catcher, Maile. Holt crossed home on the error and Leon would make his way all the way to 3rd base. It would remain 3-2 until Maile homered in the 7th to tie it up, and it went to extras knotted up at 3-3.
Toronto won it in the 12th with another home run by Maile, this one a 2-run shot.
Chris Sale pitched a masterclass in this one. After allowing 4 hits and 2 runs in the first 2 innings, the Red Sox switched up the signs, and Sale cruised from there on, retiring 21 of the final 23 batters he faced, including 15 in a row at one point, with 13 of those outs coming on K’s. He would finish with 9 IP, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out a career high 15.
Matt Barnes and Carson Smith pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th, and Brian Johnson took the loss.
Martinez and Bogaerts led the offense with 1 hit and 1 RBI each.
Game 2: BOS-5, TOR-2
(Photo credit: ESPN)
Boston took the lead in the 3rd with a Benintendi ground rule double that scored Betts, and a 2-run shot by Ramirez. Toronto got 1 back in the 4th off of an Alford single that scored Pillar, and the two teams exchanged runs in the 6th with a Devers single that scored Bogaerts for Boston and a solo home run by Smoak for Toronto.
Boston added an insurance run in the 9th when Benintendi brought home Betts with a single, and it ended 5-2 in favor of the Sox.
David Price was good, not great, in his return after missing his last start. He went 5.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks while fanning 6. Smith, Velazquez, Kelly and Kimbrel combined for 3.2 scoreless innings to secure the victory.
Other notable performances include Betts (3 hits, 2 runs), Benintendi (3 hits, 2 RBI), Devers (2 hits, 1 RBI), and Ramirez (2-run HR).
Game 3: BOS-5, TOR-3
(Photo credit: ESPN)
The Red Sox opened the game with 2 runs in the 1st coming from Martinez’s 2-run home run that scored himself and Benintendi. They added another in the 3rd when Moreland walked with the bases loaded and brought home Bradley. After another run in the 5th from a Martinez single that scored Betts, Toronto brought the game to within 1 with 3 runs in the bottom half of the 5th.
Smoak hit a 2-run double that scored Hernandez and Donaldson and then was brought home by a Martin bloop single. The Red Sox added some security to the lead in the 8th when Bogaerts scored Benintendi with a groundout, and Boston took the rubber match 5-3.
Drew Pomeranz had a rough outing on the hill with only 4 IP, in which he allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks. He struggled with his command, throwing only 51% of his pitches for strikes, and just didn’t have his best stuff. Velazquez earned the win out of the bullpen with 2 innings of scoreless work. Barnes and Hembree combined for the hold, and Kelly earned the save with a perfect 9th.
Martinez notched 3 RBI from 2 hits (1 HR), Betts added 2 hits and Benintendi scored 2 runs to lead the bats.
-It’s time to just bask in the glory of being able to witness Chris Sale pitch. The guy has been a machine for the Red Sox this year.
-David Price had an importantly strong outing in game 2. After being controversially scratched from his last start vs. the Yankees, Price had good stuff against the Jays and is hopefully healthy enough to continue producing for Boston.
-Drew Pomeranz bucked his MO of a “bend-don’t-break” pitcher by fully breaking in game 3. With Steven Wright adding to the starting pitching depth with his activation on Monday, Pomeranz needs to figure his game out soon if he hopes to remain in the rotation for much longer.
-Along with Wright, Tyler Thornburg is set to return soon, and Velazquez is one of the guys in contention for being replaced, but he may well have just solidified his place on the roster with 3 more excellent innings.
-What a relief it was to see the bullpen bounce back in games 2 and 3 after that really rough stretch they experienced. If they can stay consistently good like that, this is one of the better bullpens in the league.
-There’s not much more that can be said about Mookie this year. He’s just amazing.
-J.D. Martinez is now in exclusive company, joining Manny Ramirez as the only Red Sox to record 50 hits and 10 HR in the first 40 games of a season.
-Andrew Benintendi may just be breaking out of his early season slump. He’s hitting .308 with 2 doubles and a home run in his last 6 games.
-After being benched for the previous 3 games, JBJ reached base twice, stole a base and scored in game 3. He’s a streaky guy, and if that short amount of time off helped him begin to find his form, he adds quite a bat to the bottom 1/3 of the Boston order.
-Red Sox catchers are now batting .174 with only 4 doubles, 1 HR and 10 RBI this year. They’ve struck out a collective 28 times. They need to turn it around or the Sox could be forced to upgrade the position via the trade market.