Jarren Duran hits first major-league homer, Kiké Hernández goes yard twice, and Hunter Renfroe mashes grand slam as Red Sox power their way to 13-4 win over Blue Jays

It turns out a lineup shakeup is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox on Monday night.

In the midst of a bit of an offensive malaise since coming out of the All-Star break, Sox manager Alex Cora changed things up with his lineup in dramatic fashion ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Buffalo, and those changes proved to be quite beneficial right from the get-go.

That being the case since the Red Sox mashed six home runs in the process of cruising to a 13-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field.

Matched up against Toronto starter Ross Stripling, Kiké Hernández set the tone in the top of the first with a leadoff double.

Jarren Duran, inserted into the two-hole, followed by crushing his first career major-league home run — a two-run, 357-foot shot to left field that gave Boston an early 2-0 lead, but they were not done yet.

A Rafael Devers walk, J.D. Martinez double, and Alex Verdugo walk with one out brought Hunter Renfroe to the plate with the bases loaded, and the slugger obliged by unloading them on a 403-foot grand slam to left-center field. 6-0.

Stripling was given the hook after recording just one out, though Blue Jays reliever Anthony Kay did not fare much better, as he issued a two-out single to Kevin Plawecki before serving up a two-run blast to Hernández.

With Hernández, Duran, and Renfroe all going yard in the first, Monday marked the first time in franchise history that the Red Sox have ever hit three or more home runs in the first inning of a road game.

Hernández’s first of two big flies on the night put Boston up 8-0 before Toronto even had a chance to take their first at-bats, and they tacked on even more in their half of the second.

There, a solo home run off the bat of Devers — his 23rd — that was sent 392 feet to right-center field made it a 9-0 contest, while Martinez and Verdugo both reached to put runners on for Danny Santana, who laced a two-run double down the left field line to clear the bases and give his side an 11-0 advantage.

While the new-look Red Sox lineup was getting things done on their end, Nick Pivetta was making his 19th start of the season for Boston on the other side.

Despite receiving a healthy amount of run support, Pivetta certainly was not at his best in Buffalo on Monday.

After getting out of a first-inning jam thanks to a double play, the right-hander tossed two additional scoreless frames. Santana provided additional subsidence by clubbing his fourth homer of the year — a solo shot — in the top half of the fourth, giving the Red Sox a 12-0 lead, but Pivetta got knocked around somewhat in the bottom half.

A leadoff walk of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the first harbinger of what was to come for Pivetta, while a base hit from George Springer put runners at second and third for Teoscar Hernandez, who broke up the shutout bid on an RBI groundout.

Randal Grichuk plated another on a sacrifice fly that brought in Springer, Cavan Biggio unloaded on a first-pitch fastball from Pivetta that he sent 390 feet into the right field seats, and Bo Bichette — with the bases full in front of him — tapped an RBI single a mere three feet down the third base line to make it a 12-4 contest.

Hernández got one of those runs back in Boston’s half of the sixth, as he took Toronto reliever Taylor Saucedo 382 feet deep to left field on a line-drive that left his bat at 108 mph.

With his his second big fly of the night, the 29-year-old reached the 500-hit mark for his big-league career.

Pivetta, after escaping a laborious fourth inning, came back out for the fifth and rebounded a bit by retiring six of the next nine Blue Jays he faced, but his evening did come to an end when he gave up a one-out single to Springer in the seventh to put runners at first and second.

Instead of having his starter attempt to finish the inning, Cora turned to Hirokazu Sawamura out of the bullpen, and the righty answered the call by getting Grichuk to fly out to Verdugo in left for the third and final out of the frame.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 108 (75 strikes), Pivetta wound up allowing four runs — all earned — on a season-high 11 hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of work.

The 28-year-old hurler was able to improve to 8-4 on the year, though he did raise his ERA up to 4.37. His next start should come against the Yankees back at Fenway Park on Sunday.

From the middle of the seventh inning on, Darwinzon Hernandez took over for Sawamura, and the lefty rebounded from a tough weekend in the Bronx by punching out a pair in a perfect inning of relief.

Adam Ottavino, meanwhile, made his first relief appearance since July 11, and the veteran righty shut the door on the Jays with a scoreless ninth to preserve a 13-4 win for the Red Sox.

With the win, the Sox snap a two-game skid to improve to 57-38 on the season while also moving to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Next up: Richards vs. TBD

The Red Sox will look to do something against the Blue Jays on Tuesday that they haven’t done in a while, and that’s win a series.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will get the start for Boston in the middle game of this three-game set, while Toronto has yet to name a starter.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Jarren Duran: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s