TORONTO -- The transatlantic flight from the London Series to Toronto must have given Rafael Devers and the Red Sox plenty of time to put together an offensive game plan for Tuesday’s opener at Rogers Centre.
Boston wasted no time jumping on Blue Jays starter Trent Thornton, as it put up seven runs in the first three innings and coasted to a 10-6 win. They weren’t ground balls and bloop hits that led to those runs, either.
In the first three innings alone, the Red Sox put seven balls in play with exit velocities of 100 mph or more, six of which were base hits.
Devers had a massive day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with six RBIs and two home runs, his fourth career multi-homer game. He launched a two-run home run to center field in the first inning that Statcast measured at 419 feet. In the third frame, he produced the highest exit velocity of the game on a 113.7 mph two-run single before sending another two-run shot to left in the eighth to round out Boston’s scoring.
“I feel good,” Devers said. “I haven’t changed anything. I’ve always remained aggressive. This has just always been the way I play. So in terms of how I feel, I just felt like I’ve felt every single other day. It’s just another day for me, but it feels good to be performing as well as I am.”
The young star has continued to make an impression on Boston manager Alex Cora, who -- along with starter David Price -- believes Devers was worthy of an All-Star nod this year.
“He’s consistent with what he’s doing. He’s dominating the strike zone,” Cora said. “He’s playing good defense. He’s a good baserunner. He’s a complete player and he’s only 22. I’m just glad that we were patient with him. We know that there’s times that he’s going to be 22, but overall he’s one of the best third basemen in the big leagues and he’s showing it on a nightly basis.”
Catcher Christian Vázquez delivered the other big blow of the night in the seventh on a solo home run to left field. After launching a ball just foul to left, Vazquez straightened things out a bit and hit one 438 feet into the second deck.
Price continued his strong history against the Blue Jays (against whom he is 23-3 in his career) by holding them to just two runs over six innings of work. Price’s four walks were a season high, but he balanced them out with seven strikeouts.
Those six innings were key from Price as the Red Sox are still getting back to a normal routine after their unique travel schedule and trying to limit the load on their bullpen. Once the veteran lefty was handed a cushion in the first, he knew just what to do with it.
“It was big. The offense gave me an early lead and scored in the first three innings,” Price said. “That took a lot of the load off me. I went out there and tried to throw strikes, get outs, let my defense play defense and get us back in that dugout.”