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Upton, Travis quickly redeem themselves

Blue Jays OF, 2B play key roles in win after rough series opener
MLB.com

TORONTO -- For Melvin Upton Jr. and Devon Travis, a shot at redemption couldn't have come sooner after a night to forget.

Both players were at the heart of an important 3-2 victory over the Red Sox on Saturday at Rogers Centre, just hours after several misplays headlined one of Toronto's roughest losses of the season.

Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- For Melvin Upton Jr. and Devon Travis, a shot at redemption couldn't have come sooner after a night to forget.

Both players were at the heart of an important 3-2 victory over the Red Sox on Saturday at Rogers Centre, just hours after several misplays headlined one of Toronto's roughest losses of the season.

Full Game Coverage

Upton Jr. finished 1-for-3 with a two-run home run to put the Blue Jays on the board in the second inning, and set the tone for what ended up a nail-biting finish. With his 20th long ball, the speedy outfielder joined the 20-homer/20-steal club for the fourth time.

Travis went 3-for-4 atop the Blue Jays' lineup and looked steady at second base. Travis' error in the seventh Friday night would eventually be followed by a Hanley Ramirez three-run home run to put the game out of reach.

"Two guys that took a lot of heat [Friday] night came through for us," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Upton with the big home run, and Devon continues to swing the bat. Everybody loves a winner. Rightfully so."

Video: BOS@TOR: Travis' heads-up play nabs Hanley at second

The Blue Jays have faced increased scrutiny the past week after falling out of top spot in the American League East. Part of that has been due to inconsistent play in the field; uncharacteristic of a fundamentally sound Toronto ballclub.

The current stretch has been especially tough on Travis. Toronto's young second baseman entered Saturday's contest having committed four errors in his past six games, but the 25-year-old made a pair of crucial plays Saturday, including a force at second base to retire the lead runner in the ninth.

"I'm trying to slow it down a little bit [in the field]," Travis said. "I play this game with a lot of energy and sometimes that can be a problem. It's hard enough and fast enough as it is. When you put a little extra on it, that doesn't make things any easier. I have a great group of guys in here who are continually trying to help me with that. It's just one day at a time."

Friday's contest also saw Upton misplay the ball in left field. Toronto's big midseason acquisition has been one of the best defensive left fielders this season, but the veteran dropped a ball and overran another, prompting the sold-out Rogers Centre crowd to react negatively toward him.

Upton more than made amends for that and received loud applause after his homer in the second. The win snapped the Blue Jays' four-game losing streak and gives Toronto a chance to tie Boston atop the AL East standings with a victory Sunday

"Each day is a new day, but obviously we want to win the series and we like our chances going into [Sunday]," Upton said. "We have [Aaron] Sanchez on the mound. [Boston starter Clay] Buchholz has been pitching well of late. It makes for a good rubber match."

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Toronto Blue Jays, Melvin Upton Jr.