Red Sox's 5-run 9th drops Jays' lead to 3 1/2
TORONTO -- Sparked by a two-run shot from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the ninth inning, the Red Sox pulled off a late come-from-behind victory over the Blue Jays in a 7-6 win at Rogers Centre on Saturday. Bradley went deep against Toronto closer Roberto Osuna to tie the game at 4 before David Ortiz brought home the go-ahead run on a bloop single against reliever Aaron Sanchez, as the Red Sox scored five runs in the inning.
The Red Sox played the role of spoiler, helping the Yankees inch within 3 1/2 games of the Blue Jays in the American League East.
"The guys played hard for nine innings and that's been a characteristic of this team for quite some time," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "And in this environment, to step up and get the job done and do what they did, it was a pretty good moment."
Jose Bautista made a game of it with a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth to make it a one-run deficit before Matt Hague doubled off the center-field wall to put the potential tying run in scoring position, but Justin Smoak grounded out to end it. Edwin Encarnacion also homered and drove in three runs for the Blue Jays, who saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth, when Xander Bogaerts put the Red Sox ahead with a solo shot. That lead was short-lived, however, as Encarnacion went yard in the home half with a runner on to give the Blue Jays a one-run advantage. The see-saw continued as Boston knotted the game in the seventh thanks to a leadoff ground-rule double from Brock Holt, who then came around to score on Bradley's double to tie the game at 2. The Blue Jays looked poised to take the game after a two-run eighth broke the tie, but the Red Sox piled on against the Toronto bullpen in the ninth.
"It's rare, what happened," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "It does happen in baseball, but it's a tough one. No doubt about."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bradley busts out: Bradley was in a 1-for-32 drought and was hitless in 21 at-bats before coming up with two big hits in the late innings. In the seventh, Bradley tied the game with a hustle double off the glove of Jays second baseman Cliff Pennington. And in the ninth, with the Red Sox two outs from defeat, Bradley hit a towering, game-tying, two-run shot to right against Osuna. According to Statcast™, Bradley's homer was projected to land 425 feet away, with an exit velocity of 106 mph. More >
"To come up and do what he did in the ninth inning with our backs against the wall, obviously we know what he's been going through for the past several games," said Lovullo. "To put that behind him and to come up big was pretty good."
The Edwing flies: Encarnacion ripped an offering from Wade Miley off the facing of the second deck to put the Blue Jays up a run in the sixth. The ball got out in a hurry, leaving Encarnacion's bat at a projected 111 mph, according to Statcast™. It was his 34th of the season.
Bogaerts puts Red Sox in front: Bogaerts perfectly timed a 72-mph knuckleball from R.A. Dickey to open the top of the sixth and belted it over the wall in left to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. The homer was a reminder that Bogaerts has raw power, despite the fact it was just the sixth time he's gone deep this season. The homer was the first for Bogaerts since Sept. 2. Bogaerts struck out in his first two at-bats against Dickey.
Dickey 200: When he got Holt to fly out to left field in the fourth, Dickey reached 200 innings pitched for the fifth straight season and his third with the Blue Jays. The 40-year-old knuckleballer has pitched at least 208 2/3 innings over that span, and as many as 233 2/3. Dickey tossed six innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits before turning the game over to the bullpen.
"It was somewhat of a grind to get through that lineup multiple times," Dickey said. "I've said it all along, that's one of the better teams in the American League, in my opinion, offensively."
"Greg Maddux told me when I was at the World Baseball Classic, he said, 'The key to being a good pitcher is having a bulletproof confidence and a short-term memory.' That's my advice."
-- Dickey, on the late-inning struggles by Osuna and Sanchez More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Entering Saturday's game, the Blue Jays were 73-0 when leading after eight innings and the Red Sox were 0-65 when trailing after eight.
Bautista walked twice in the contest, giving him 100 on the season. He joins Carlos Delgado as the only Blue Jays to reach that mark in four different years.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Gibbons asked for a review when Ben Revere was caught stealing second to end the seventh inning. Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart threw a strike to second baseman Dustin Pedroia to nail Revere as he slid in headfirst. After a 2-minute, 39-second review, the call on the field stood.
Red Sox: Lefty Rich HIll draws the start in the finale of this nine-game road trip for the Red Sox on Sunday at Rogers Centre. Hill was brilliant last time out against the Rays, firing seven shutout innings while striking out 10 in his first Major League start in six years. First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET.
Blue Jays: Veteran lefty Mark Buehrle takes the mound for the series finale. Buehrle, fresh off a cortisone shot in his left shoulder, allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits over five innings in his last start against the Braves.
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