BLUE JAYS

SE­RIES SPLIT WITH THE SOX.

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JIMMY GOLEN

BOSTON — Steve Pearce blooped the ball to the edge of the out­field grass, and Red Sox sec­ond base­man Brock Holt was there.

He planted his feet. He raised his arm to catch it. But some­thing wasn’t quite right. Holt lost the ball in the sun, al­low­ing it to glance off his glove for a two-run sin­gle that tied the game as the Toronto Blue Jays ral­lied from an early deficit to take the lead for good and hold on to beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-6, in Amer­i­can League base­ball ac­tion Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

“As weakly as I hit it, I didn’t” ex­pect it to fall, said Pearce, who had three hits. “When you put the ball in the air, some­times (the fielder) just can’t do it. Day game, clear sky. It was a great time for it.”

Ryan Goins fol­lowed with a tworun sin­gle to give the Blue Jays the lead. Justin Smoak home­red twice, but it was a 140-foot duck snort that turned things around and al­lowed Toronto to leave Boston with a split in the four-game se­ries.

“I don’t care how hard it’s hit, it’s a two-RBI knock. Then Goins comes right be­hind me, keeps things rolling,” said Pearce, whose team lost nine of the first 10 games of the sea­son and haven’t been above fourth place since. “We’ve had a lot of things go­ing against us, so it’s nice to fi­nally have some­thing go for us.”

Dustin Pe­droia had three hits, in­clud­ing a three-run homer, while serv­ing as des­ig­nated hit­ter on a 32 C day at the end of a grind­ing home­s­tand. In­clud­ing the 15-in­ning game on Tues­day with Toronto, the AL East-lead­ing Red Sox played 76 in­nings in about 144 hours — the equiv­a­lent of 8½ games in six days.

But it was the sun more than the heat that was the prob­lem, es­pe­cially for the right field­ers and any­one else who tried to field a pop-up. “Dur­ing day games it’s al­ways pretty bad for the right side of the field — sec­ond base­men, right field,” Holt said. “It was one of those balls that wasn’t re­ally high enough where I could do any­thing to move my­self and ma­noeu­vre my­self to get that out of the sun . ... I tried to stay with it as long as I could and un­for­tu­nately couldn’t make the play. So that one’s on me.”

Do­minic Leone (2-0) earned the win. Toronto starter Fran­cisco Liri­ano got just five outs, al­low­ing three runs in the sec­ond, but the Blue Jays came back with four in the third to take a 5-3 lead against Doug Fis­ter (0-4).

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Smoak has 26 homers and 62 RBIs this sea­son. His pre­vi­ous ca­reer highs were 20 and 59.

“We still have 2½ more months left in the sea­son so I just try to keep my head down and keep go­ing,” he said.

Smoak’s RBI sin­gle in the sixth gave Toronto a 7-3 lead, then Pe­droia’s homer in the sev­enth made it a one-run game. Smoak added his sec­ond homer in the ninth.

Mookie Betts had two hits and two RBIs for Boston.

Liri­ano gave up three runs — two earned — five hits and a walk, strik­ing out one. He gave up back-to­back dou­bles to Xan­der Bo­gaerts and Sandy Leon, and Betts scored two with a sin­gle to give Boston a 3-1 lead in the sec­ond.

But the Jays came back with four in the third. Fis­ter walked four and gave up run-scor­ing sin­gles to Pearce and Goins. Fis­ter al­lowed six runs, seven hits and four walks, strik­ing out three in 4 1/3 in­nings.

MADDIE MEYER, GETTY IMAGES

Toronto’s Dar­win Bar­ney tags out Mookie Betts as he tries to steal sec­ond in the fifth in­ning at Fen­way Park.

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