Defense makes statement vs. dangerous Jays
TORONTO -- Supporting a stellar outing from starter Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox got it done with the glove to stifle a normally potent Blue Jays offense in a 3-1 victory at Roger Centre on Monday night. There were running catches, double plays and one particularly odd rundown that proved crucial as Boston took the series opener.
Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin attempted to break a scoreless tie in the second inning when he rounded third and headed for home on a Kevin Pillar double. Martin tried to retreat to the bag after seeing the stop sign from third-base coach Luis Rivera, but the decision proved costly. Alejandro De Aza fired the ball to shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who relayed it to Pablo Sandoval, who tagged Martin down the third-base line to end the inning, allowing the Red Sox to escape unscathed.
"That doesn't happen all the time. I don't ever remember getting out of an inning with something like that," said Buchholz, who went eight strong innings to get the win. "You say, 'Thanks for that.' ... It's always good when you get outs like that with the guys they had coming up."
That seemed to give the Boston bats a boost as they scored twice in the top half of the third to take a 2-0 lead. In the home half, the Blue Jays attempted get something going again as Devon Travis tried to steal second following a leadoff single. But as Ryan Goins struck out, Travis was gunned down at second by Boston catcher Sandy Leon and another Blue Jays attempt was thwarted.
After Josh Donaldson doubled home a run to cut Boston's lead to 3-1 in the sixth, the always-dangerous Jose Bautista got a hold of a Buchholz cutter and sent it toward the gap in left-center field. According to Statcast™, the ball left Bautista's bat at 98 mph, but De Aza hit a max speed of 18 mph, tracked the ball to the wall and hauled it in to end the inning.
"He's got very good range. He can run. We've seen it across the field," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of De Aza. "The range he showed tonight was as good as you'll probably see from a left fielder."
Sandoval then started a big double play to get Boston out of the seventh after Buchholz allowed a one-out single to Chris Colabello, negating the last hit the Blue Jays could muster off the starter.