Blue Jays rally for 9 in 7th, win 9th straight
BOSTON -- In a surreal turn of events at Fenway Park, nine straight Toronto batters reached base and all of them scored during a furious seventh-inning rally that led the red-hot Blue Jays to a 13-10 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night.
After getting swept in Baltimore, Boston seemed primed to start the homestand on a good note, breaking out to an 8-1 lead through three innings.
But the Blue Jays chipped away with three in the fifth and the nine-spot in the seventh to run their winning streak to nine games.
"It doesn't happen very often, that's for sure," Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin said of the improbable comeback. "But this team is unbelievable, it's relentless from top to bottom. Tough outs, guys give you good at-bats all the way through, guys can do damage all the way through the lineup, and we kind of feed off each other."
Toronto tied the game on a fielding error by Boston third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who stopped a grounder on a half-dive and then bobbled it on the transfer. Russell Martin game the Blue Jays their first lead with a three-run double against Junichi Tazawa. Justin Smoak's two-run shot against Tommy Layne capped the damage.
"Well it was a long inning, obviously," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We know that they're an explosive, big-inning type of offense and that played out. They were able to fight off a number of good pitchers' pitches and then didn't miss any time we made a located pitch on the plate. [We] couldn't slow them down until the final nine-run tally."
Neither starter factored in the decision. Toronto's Drew Hutchison gave up three homers, and was clubbed for nine hits and eight runs over 2 1/3 innings. Staked with a big lead, Boston's Joe Kelly gave up seven hits and four runs over six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nine in a row: The Blue Jays entered the seventh trailing, 8-4, but the deficit was erased in the blink of an eye. Toronto started the inning with six consecutive hits and all nine batters reached base before the Red Sox were able to record an out. When it was all said and done, the Blue Jays scored nine runs on eight hits.
"I think we felt like [we had a chance] all along," Smoak said. "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." More >
Early fireworks fizzle out: The Sox struck with a bang in the first, tallying five runs to take a commanding early lead. David Ortiz started the scoring with a two-run single laced onto the warning track in left. Sandoval and Mookie Betts added to the damage by launching back-to-back homers off Hutchison -- Sandoval's a two-run laser to right, Betts' a solo shot into the Monster seats -- as eight of the first eleven Boston batters reached base. Two innings later, Dustin Pedroia hit a three-run blast to give his team a seven-run lead.
"Well, I wouldn't write this team off," said Farrell. "This is still a team that has got a long track record of individual performance, and we have to put some things together as a team in all phases. This isn't to single anyone out. You can say it was a strong offensive night tonight. It takes the other two components, the pitching and the defense, to work in combination."
Hutchison chased early: Blue Jays manager John Gibbons tried to stick with Hutchison despite the lopsided score, but his patience ran out in the third after yet another Boston home run. This time it was Pedroia's three-run shot as Hutchison's night came to an end after he retired just seven batters. Hutchison surrendered a career-high eight runs on nine hits and three walks in his shortest outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.
Tazawa's latest Toronto meltdown: Tazawa faced five batters and didn't get any of them out, allowing four earned runs during the game-turning rally. Lifetime against the Blue Jays, Tazawa has a 7.88 ERA in 26 career appearances.
"I was able to get the first hitter off balance, but that ended up being a hit," Tazawa said. "After that, I think I might have rushed my pitches." More >
"I've been on the other side of it a few times." -- Smoak, when asked if he'd been part of something like Toronto's nine-run seventh
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This marked the fifth time in franchise history that the Blue Jays overcame a seven-run deficit. The franchise record is 10, on June 4, 1989, at Fenway Park. Toronto also came back from an eight-run deficit on June 20, 2014, in Cincinnati.
For the first time since May 4, Toronto picked up a victory that ended with one of its pitchers getting a save. The 18 wins between saves was the second-longest streak in baseball over the last 35 years. The Red Sox had a 20-win save-less streak during the 1987 season. More >
The last time the Red Sox squandered a lead of at least seven runs in a loss was on April 21, 2012, against the Yankees, when they led, 9-0, and lost, 15-9.
FENCE GETS THE BEST OF BETTS
Betts left the game due to a lower back sprain after he ran into the bullpen wall in the second. The Boston center fielder had been trying to field Smoak's triple into the center-field triangle. He appeared briefly shaken up, but finished out the inning before Alejandro De Aza pinch-hit for him in the second. De Aza took over in right field, with Rusney Castillo moving from right to center.
"He's got a contusion, obviously the impact of the wall," Farrell said. "And also when he landed, there was a little bit of a twisting effect where he's got a sprain in the back. X-rays were negative. He's a little sore right now." More >
PILLAR DOES IT AGAIN
Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar has made several highlight-reel catches this season, and his brilliant full-out diving grab to rob Brock Holt in the sixth added to that total.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
The Red Sox challenged a tag-up play in the fifth when Jose Bautista lined out to Sandoval with Josh Donaldson standing on first base. Sandoval immediately fired to first just as Donaldson retreated to the bag, but first-base umpire Brian O'Nora ruled him safe. After approximately two minutes and 43 seconds of review, the play stood as called. Edwin Encarnacion struck out in the next at-bat to end the inning.
In the seventh, officials conducted a crew chief review on another tag play involving Bautista, who was called safe at first after nearly being caught by Mike Napoli on a pickoff attempt. The ruling was confirmed following one minute and nine seconds of review.
Blue Jays: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will take the mound Saturday at 1:35 p.m. ET, when the Blue Jays continue their three-game series at Fenway. Despite Toronto's nine-game winning streak, Dickey hasn't picked up a victory since May 24. In his last outing, Dickey picked up a no decision after allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings.
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz (3-6, 4.07 ERA) will look to help Boston out of its four-game skid when he faces Toronto at 1:35 p.m. ET on Saturday. Oakland tagged Buchholz for four runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings in his last start, but he had pitched to a 1.95 ERA over his five previous outings.
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