Legends On Deck

Game of the Week: Red Sox Score 13 on Blue Jays

FINAL: Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 3

The Boston Red Sox sent a message to the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night: “Back off!”

No, there were no intentional brushback pitches or other tense moments. But the league-leading Red Sox (79-61) offense made it clear that only sharp pitching and clean defense will contain them. The Blue Jays (77-63) did not have either in the opener of the three game series. The Beantown bombers scored in each of the first four frames, then padded their lead with a six-run seventh inning to earn a lopsided victory at Rogers Centre. They pushed the Blue Birds back to two games behind Boston in the American League East.

Rick Porcello, wearing his lucky, unwashed hat (with visible sweat stains), earned his Major League-leading 20th win against just three losses. Marco Estrada (8-8), who lasted just 3.1 innings, took the loss. The visitors tallied 18 hits including two big flies. Dustin Pedroia went 3-for-4 with four RBI. Six other Red Sox had two-hit games. Seven Blue Jays pitchers gave up nine earned runs.

Mookie Betts opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-out RBI double to right center, scoring Dustin Pedroia. Estrada walked the bases loaded with two outs. He escaped additional damage but Boston coaxed him into throwing more than 30 pitches in the first frame, setting the tone. In the top of the second inning, Pedroia shot a grounder through the middle to score Jackie Bradley Jr., took second on the throw home, and was thrown out trying to take third when the ball skipped past Dioner Navarro.

Toronto was plagued by sloppy defense all night. A Manny Ramirez pop-up in the third advanced Mookie Betts to third base. Melvin Upton then dropped Travis Shaw‘s playable fly ball, scoring Betts. Rookie catcher Sandy Leon, who entered the game batting .350, chased Estrada with a scalded line drive double, plating Ramirez. Aaron Loup relieved Estrada and promptly induced a double play.

Devon Travis stroked a two-run single with bases loaded in the third, after Michael Saunders, Melvin Upton, and Kevin Pillar reached on a single-walk-single sequence, to make the score 5-2.

In the top of the fourth Pedroia  scored Brock Holt with a sacrifice fly after Holt had advanced on a wild pitch. When lefty Brett Cecil came on in the 6th to fan two lefties and then Scott Feldman finished the inning, it appeared the Blue Jays might battle their way back.

Any hopes of a comeback were dashed in the savage seventh inning. Xander Bogaerts went upper tank down the foul line in left, making the score 6-2. Then David Ortiz hit his 45th double of the season in the next at-bat (no typo, yes, 45th double, must be that Green Monster at Fenway, or else Big Papi is sipping from the fountain of youth). Hanley Ramirez buried the stake with a three-run bomb after Devon Travis booted Betts’ ground ball; Ortiz and Betts rode home with Ramirez and finished Feldman. Dustin Pedroia knocked in his third and fourth RBI to cap the seventh with a base hit that scored Shaw from third and Bradley Jr. from second.

An error by Aaron Hill (in for Pedroia) set up an unearned run off BoSox reliever Brad Ziegler after the stretch, making the score 11-3.

The Red Sox were not done in the ninth. Bogaerts drove in Holt on a fielder’s choice, then Hill singled in JBJ to run the score to 13-3. So who had the Red Sox in the 13-run pool?

No doubt Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons was thankful for Thursday’s off day, and for 40-man rosters. New game Saturday.


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