The Red Sox once again rallied to earn a series victory over the Blue Jays on a rainy and chilly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Behind a season-high 15 hits, Boston defeated Toronto by a final score of 8-3 to extend its winning streak to five and improve to 18-14 on the year.
Nick Pivetta, making his fourth start of the season for the Sox, allowed three runs on five hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over six quality innings of work.
Because the wind was blowing in from center field on Wednesday, Pivetta was able to avoid any serious damage in the top of the first despite consistently giving up hard contact. The same cannot be said for the second inning, as Daulton Varsho led it off by taking the right-hander 399 feet deep to right field for his second home run in as many nights.
An inning later, Pivetta served up a towering 450-foot solo shot to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that cleared the Green Monster and had an exit velocity of 110 mph. Guerrero Jr.’s sixth home run of the season gave the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead going into the fourth.
That is when the Red Sox finally got on the board. Rafael Devers singled on a 112.5 mph line drive that deflected off Jays starter Alek Manoah and then moved up to second on a throwing error. A wild pitch from Manoah allowed Devers to move up to third before Jarren Duran drove him in with an RBI double. Duran took third after Manoah unsuccessfully tried to pick him off at second base and scored on a game-tying RBI single from Triston Casas that knotted things up at two runs apiece.
In the fifth, Kevin Kiermaier led off with a double and advanced to third on a George Springer flyout. With Bo Bichette at the plate, Pivetta allowed the then-go-ahead run to cross the plate on a controversial balk that drew the ire of both the righty and Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Though Toronto had just re-taken the lead at the midway point, it did not take long for Boston to respond.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Masataka Yoshida reached base on a throwing error committed by Santiago Espinal. Justin Turner followed with a hard-hit double and Duran was hit by a pitch to fill the bases with two outs. For the second time in as many at-bats, Casas delivered with a game-tying single through the left side of the infield that pushed across Yoshida. Fellow rookie Enmanuel Valdez kept the line moving by lacing a grounder that ate up Guerrero Jr. at first base.
Both Turner and Duran came into score as a result of Guerrero Jr.’s blunder, which was initially ruled an error but was later changed to a go-ahead, two-run single for Valdez. Pivetta preserved the Sox’ newfound 5-3 lead by retiring the final three batters he faced in the top of the sixth.
Finishing with 94 pitches (62 strikes), Pivetta induced 14 total swings-and-misses — 11 of which came on his slider. The 30-year-old hurler also earned his second winning decision of the season while lowering his ERA just below five at 4.99
With Pivetta’s night done, the Sox tacked on some insurance as the Jays began to dip into their bullpen in the latter half of the sixth. Connor Wong ripped a leadoff double, moved up to third on a groundout, and scored his side’s sixth run on a 109.6 mph line drive from Yoshida that glanced off Anthony Bass and went for an RBI single.
Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Chris Martin, Yoshida struck again by plating Enrique Hernandez on hard-hit opposite-field double. Hernandez returned the favor an inning later with a run-scoring hit of his own to give Boston a commanding 8-3 advantage heading into the ninth.
Kutter Crawford, who had already put up a zero in the eighth inning, recorded the first out of the ninth but was then forced to come out of the game with a trainer due to tightness in his left hamstring. Ryan Brasier took over for Crawford and got the final two outs of the frame to seal the win.
Yoshida extends hitting streak
With his sixth-inning single, Masataka Yoshida extended his hitting streak to 13 games, which is currently the longest active streak in the majors. Following Wednesday’s 2-for-5 showing, the 29-year-old raised his batting average on the season to .303.
In addition to Yoshida, every other member of the Sox’ starting lineup recorded at least one hit on Wednesday night. Yoshida, Turner, Valdez, and Hernandez each had two hits while Casas led the way by going 3-for-5 with two clutch RBIs.
Next up: Gausman vs. Bello
The Red Sox will go for the sweep of the Blue Jays in the finale of this four-game series on Thursday night. After going 3-16 against Toronto last season, Boston already has the chance to surpass that win total.
Brayan Bello, who dealt with a blister in his last time out, will get the start for the Red Sox. The Jays will counter with fellow right-hander Kevin Gausman.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)