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Three homers not enough for Toronto vs. Boston

@jessicacamerato
April 11, 2019

BOSTON -- Rowdy Tellez belted a home run out of Fenway Park with such force it seemed destined to land at the Maple Leafs’ playoff game three miles away. The two-run blast off Nathan Eovaldi exited the park at a velocity of 115.2 miles per hour in the third inning.

BOSTON -- Rowdy Tellez belted a home run out of Fenway Park with such force it seemed destined to land at the Maple Leafs’ playoff game three miles away.

The two-run blast off Nathan Eovaldi exited the park at a velocity of 115.2 miles per hour in the third inning. After the game, though, the first baseman wasn’t thinking about his jaw-dropping hit. The Blue Jays' 7-6 defeat to the Red Sox, delivered by a Rafael Devers’ walk-off single off Ken Giles, was on his mind.

“It absolutely means nothing to me,” Tellez said. “It’s a number. It’s a home run. I know that I’m pretty strong. But we’re focused on the tough loss and bouncing back tomorrow.”

Tellez’s homer was part of a five-run inning that also included a three-run homer by Justin Smoak in his return from injury, followed later in the seventh by a go-ahead home run from Freddy Galvis. The Blue Jays continued their aggressive approach on offense into Thursday night, connecting for a season-high three homers. But the Red Sox were aggressive, too.

Mitch Moreland homered off Joe Biagini in the seventh inning, and that wouldn’t be the last the Blue Jays would see from the Red Sox first baseman. They were on the verge of a two-game series sweep in the ninth with Giles -- who had recorded 34 straight saves without a blown opportunity -- on the mound when Moreland stepped up to the plate with Mookie Betts on first. Moreland drove in the game-tying run, and Devers connected for the walk-off hit to score Eduardo Nunez.

“It’s not a lineup that should be taken lightly,” Giles said. “They’re always up for a battle. So they were going to make me work for it, no matter what the cost was. I just didn’t execute my pitches. Walking guys killed me. It is what it is. The guys deserved the ‘W’ today. They did a great job today, but everything falls on me. So I take the blame for that one.”

In spite of the final result, the Blue Jays made progress in the series. The played spoiler on the Red Sox’s Opening Day with a 7-5 win, and scored a total of 13 runs -- one more than their previous six games combined -- and 18 hits against the defending World Series champions. Entering Thursday, the Tigers were the only American League team that had connected for fewer home runs than the Blue Jays.

On the pitching side, right-hander Aaron Sanchez threw five innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits, walking four and striking out five. His ERA stands at 1.69 after three starts this season.

“We can compete with anybody,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said of his takeaway from the mini series. “We’ve got the pitching, and we can compete with anybody in this league. And that’s good, and I know they know it too.”

That outlook was evident in the clubhouse, where disappointment of the loss was mixed with recognition of the team's potential. The Blue Jays will consider this when they return home on Friday to take on the Rays for a weekend series before going back on the road to face the Twins and Athletics.

“We’re going to have guys here that are going to impress a lot of people and surprise a lot of people,” Tellez said. “I think that’s a standard we’re all holding for ourselves, each and everyone of us is holding each other accountable for what we’ve been doing and expecting the very best out of each one of us.”

Jessica Camerato is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato.