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Smoak HRs, big frames lead Blue Jays to win

Toronto's resounding production softens blow from a 4-error night
MLB.com @gregorMLB

BOSTON -- The Blue Jays' offense has been heating up of late, and Justin Smoak is one of the main reasons why.

Smoak hit a pair of home runs and Dwight Smith Jr. added one of his own in Toronto's 13-7 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park. Four errors -- three in the second inning alone -- meant the win wasn't exactly pretty, but Toronto gladly took it, snapping a two-game losing streak and ending Boston's winning run at 10 games.

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BOSTON -- The Blue Jays' offense has been heating up of late, and Justin Smoak is one of the main reasons why.

Smoak hit a pair of home runs and Dwight Smith Jr. added one of his own in Toronto's 13-7 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park. Four errors -- three in the second inning alone -- meant the win wasn't exactly pretty, but Toronto gladly took it, snapping a two-game losing streak and ending Boston's winning run at 10 games.

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The 31-year-old Smoak has at least one extra-base hit in seven consecutive games, and 20 of his last 27 hits have gone for extra bases. Smoak has 16 home runs, four over the past four games. Friday marked the eighth multi-homer game of Smoak's career and his second of the season, and he is hitting .333 (15-for-45) with seven homers and 15 RBIs over his last 13 games.

Video: TOR@BOS: Smoak belts a solo homer to right-center

"Maybe a little bit more aggressive," Smoak said, when asked about his recent success. "Being ready to hit, and good things happen, I feel like, when you're [ready], I feel like you're able to lay off the tougher pitches. That's where I'm at, I feel like."

Toronto did most of its damage in the second and third innings off right-hander Rick Porcello, who had his shortest outing in almost three years. Porcello could not record an out in the third and was charged with eight runs on seven hits and four walks. Kevin Pillar was a problem all night for the Red Sox as he finished with a pair of doubles in a 4-for-5, four-RBI performance.

Video: TOR@BOS: Pillar collects 4 hits, drives in 4 runs

Blue Jays rookie left-hander Ryan Borucki received a no-decision after he allowed seven runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and four walks while striking out five. It was the first time in four career starts that Borucki allowed more than two runs, but his outing was better than the line would indicate, given the series of defensive miscues that cost Toronto early.

Video: TOR@BOS: Borucki gets Holt looking to end the 3rd

In the second inning, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could not handle a chopper to short, Pillar was charged with a throwing error from center field and Borucki threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt at first base. Those miscues played a major role in Boston's five-run second inning, but the Blue Jays came back with five runs in the top of the third to retake control of the game.

Video: TOR@BOS: Pillar laces a 2-run double into the gap

"It's a great hitting ballclub, but it was a fun environment to pitch in," the 24-year-old Borucki said. "I've seen Fenway Park all my life. On TV, video games, everything. It was fun to be able to pitch here."

Toronto's bullpen was the unsung hero of this game, with six relievers combining to toss six scoreless innings to preserve the victory. The execution was impressive, but the number of innings are a concern because right-hander Sam Gaviglio will make Saturday's start on two days' rest following an injury to Marco Estrada, and the club decided not to call up another starter. After Friday's workload, the Blue Jays will have no choice but to make a couple of roster moves in the bullpen.

"That was a Fenway special," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Borucki got indoctrinated a little bit tonight to Fenway Park. But he hung in there, he had that one big shutdown inning. It was just that back-and-forth, and our bullpen was tremendous, every one of them. Great ballgame, our guys hung in there. They could have easily folded after getting the lead and giving it up. They did a great job, all of them."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The go-ahead shot: Smith capped the Blue Jays' five-run third inning with a two-run shot to right off Porcello. Smith's second homer of the year chased Porcello from the game, and it was the very definition of a Fenway Park home run. According to Statcast™, Smith's shot to right traveled just 331 feet, but it snuck around Pesky's Pole to put the Blue Jays in front, 8-6. Smith set a career high with three RBIs, surpassing the previous mark set May 27 against the Phillies.

Video: TOR@BOS: Smith Jr. powers a 2-run homer to right

Petricka calms the storm: Right-hander Jake Petricka was brought into a messy situation in the bottom of the fourth, but somehow found a way to keep the Blue Jays' lead intact. Borucki departed with runners on first and third and nobody out after Mitch Moreland's RBI single cut Toronto's lead to one, and Petricka proceeded to retire three of the next four batters he faced, with the lone blemish a walk to Sandy Leon. Petricka returned to pitch a scoreless fifth inning, and he has now allowed just two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings this month.

Video: TOR@BOS: Petricka escapes bases-loaded jam in 4th

"He has a good arm, and I think he is rounding back into shape," Gibbons said. "He had that injury issue in Spring Training, and we sent him over to the Minor League camp. He always had a big arm over there in Chicago, and we're starting to see it now. He's really tough on right-handers, because he has that good live fastball that ties them up. Big, huge when he came in there and got out of that. Really that held it in check. That could have gone the other way quick."

SOUND SMART
Smoak's streak of seven consecutive games with at least one extra-base hit is the longest by a Blue Jay since Edwin Encarnacion's nine-game streak in 2015. He is one of nine players in the Majors this season with an extra-base hit in at least seven games in a row.

Video: TOR@BOS: Smoak rips 2-run shot for 2nd homer of game

UP NEXT
Gaviglio (2-3, 4.70 ERA) will take the mound when the Blue Jays continue their four-game series against the Red Sox on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. Gaviglio will be making this start on just two days' rest after he allowed six runs on 48 pitches in his last outing vs. Atlanta. Boston will counter with lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (11-3, 3.62).

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Justin Smoak