Red Sox slam Blue Jays
Five-run fourth inning costs Toronto, gives Boston 10th straight win
BOSTON — A combination of bad defence, bad luck and a bad pitch thrown by Toronto starter J.A. Happ sunk the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
The Boston Red Sox scored five runs in the fourth to chase Happ out of the game, holding on for a 6-4 victory, their 10th straight win — the longest active win streak in the Majors.
Four of the runs Boston scored in the fourth came via a Mookie Betts grand slam, though none of the five runs the Toronto lefty surrendered were earned.
The trouble started when Jays shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. attempted to start a double play by dishing a Brock Holt grounder to second. The Jays initially got the runner out (Xander Bogaerts) but couldn’t double up Holt at first. Boston challenged the out and a review showed that Jays second baseman Devon Travis didn’t touch the bag on the play, so Bogaerts was ruled safe, putting two men on with one out. Travis was slapped with an error. The next batter, Eduardo Nunez, hit a weak grounder to the mound to load the bases. Sandy Leon followed that up with a grounder to short. Gurriel fielded the ball and dished it to third from his glove, a great play, though Bogaerts scored on the play. Happ loaded the bases again by walking Jackie Bradley Jr.. That brought up Betts, the MLB batting leader, who deposited the 13th pitch thrown to him by Happ right over the Green Monster in left. Toronto first baseman Justin Smoak just missed making an over the shoulder catch on a foul pop hit earlier in the count by Betts, which would have ended the inning. Happ threw 45 pitches in the inning and was replaced by Joe Biagini. It was the sixth grand slam he has given up in his career and third this season. Betts also hit an RBI single in the seventh.
Rumours have been swirling that the New York Yankees are interested in trading for Happ before the deadline, but Thursday’s outing represented his third straight sub-par performance, so they may be having second thoughts.
Boston starter David Price gave up two home runs to the Jays. Teoscar Hernandez hit his 14th home run of the year in the first that went an estimated 434 feet to stake Happ to a 2-0 lead. It was his first homer since June 22, a span of 15 games. DH Kendrys Morales hit his 11th homer of the season to lead off the seventh, a smash that sailed over the wall in deep centre. Justin Smoak smacked a double off the centre field wall in the eighth to score Randal Grichuk, Smoak’s sixth straight game with an extra base hit and his 11th RBI in as many games.
Ex-Jay Steve Pearce, who was traded to the Red Sox on June 28, was hit just below the left shin by Happ in the first and left the game the next inning. He suffered a left shin contusion.
Travis went 4-for-4 on the night, all singles, his first four-hit performance this season. Gurriel had a double and single. SBuffery@postmedia.com
Toronto Blue Jays’ J.A. Happ reacts while pitching during the fourth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston on Thursday. A grand slam in the fourth inning put the Red Sox over the Jays 6-4.