'Incredible' inning extends win streak
In seventh, first nine reach and score as Blue Jays post ninth straight victory
BOSTON -- The Blue Jays appeared to be down and out, their eight-game winning streak all but officially over, until all of a sudden everything changed in a matter of minutes on a bizarre Friday night at Fenway Park.
Toronto, which trailed, 8-1, early in the game, entered the seventh inning faced with a four-run deficit. Nine batters later, the Blue Jays still didn't have an out, but they did have nine runs on the board in an eventual 13-10 win.
The first nine batters of the seventh all reached base and came around to score. There was one homer, one triple, one double, five singles and an error charged to Boston third baseman Pablo Sandoval before the chaos came to an end and propelled the Blue Jays to their season-high ninth straight win.
"That's an incredible inning," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's real, real hard to do. Everybody's getting their knocks, but we have a potent offense, we really do. They approach it the right way, they take each at-bat with a good approach and we're very, very dangerous."
The nine runs scored without an out is the second-highest total in Toronto's history. The club's all-time mark was set on May 24, 1999, when the Blue Jays scored 10 runs in the seventh inning vs. Detroit. The last Major League team to score at least nine runs without an out was Boston (May 7, 2009), when it scored 12 in the sixth against Cleveland.
This game also marked the fifth time in Blue Jays history that they rallied from at least seven runs down to escape with a win. Toronto's record also happened at Fenway Park when the club overcame a 10-run deficit on June 4, 1989. A more recent example happened when the Blue Jays battled back from eight runs down against the Reds on June 20, 2014.
These types of rallies and comebacks aren't unprecedented, but they're quite rare. More often than not when a team falls behind by seven runs before the end of the third, the club usually prefers to move onto the next day as quickly as possible. That's not what happened in Boston.
"I think we felt like [we had a chance] all along," said Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak, who capped the nine-run outburst with a two-run homer over the Green Monster. "We just have to keep grinding, keep having good at-bats. We knew we'd have a chance there at the end and we were able to do it."
Red Sox manager John Farrell tried just about everything against his former team. Right-hander Matt Barnes started the seventh and allowed three consecutive hits. Junichi Tazawa entered and allowed four more, plus an additional baserunner when Sandoval was charged with an error.
Lefty Tommy Layne then received his opportunity and the second pitch he threw was sent over the wall by Smoak. It was Toronto's highest single-inning totals for both runs and hits since July 28, 2014, which also happened at Fenway Park.
"Even if we didn't get the result that we wanted to tonight, we still have that attitude that we're going to battle and tonight, luckily, we were able to score nine runs," said Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who had a tiebreaking three-run triple in the seventh.
"We're not going to be able to do that a whole bunch of times, but tonight was a night where we did. It's a combination of good at-bats, a couple of mistakes on the other side and our bullpen doing a good job, keeping us in the game. You have to stop them from scoring more runs and we did that tonight."