RECAP: Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon Launch Late Inning Home Runs as #RedSox Take Care of Business Against Blue Jays.

Coming off an impressive 8-3 win on Memorial Day, the Red Sox tacked on another eight runs against the Toronto Blue Jays last night. Having now won their past four series, the 38-17 Red Sox will look to sweep the Jays this afternoon before heading off to Houston.

Going into last night with an ERA of 5.40 in May, Rick Porcello made his 12th start of the season in this one, and he closed his month out in style. The righty nearly made it through seven full innings while surrendering three runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks, and two HBPs while fanning five.

Before pitching into the seventh, the only costly mistake Porcello made came in the top of the fourth, when he served up a one out solo shot to Jays first baseman Justin Smoak. As the game progressed, it looked like that was all Toronto would get off the Red Sox starter, but things got a bit interesting in the seventh.

Already up by four runs, Porcello hit the second batter he faced in the inning, Russell Martin, to put a runner on first with one out. Martin did not take too kindly to that, as that was the second time Porcello got a Blue Jay with a pitch, but the confrontation did not elevate past a few words between the two.

The New Jersey native followed that little adventure up by allowing the next two batters he faced in Kendrys Morales and Devon Travis to reach base via a walk and a single. That loaded the bases up for Luke Maile, but he struck out swinging on five pitches. Now with Curtis Granderson at the plate, who has already done a good deal of damage against the Red Sox this season, Porcello could not get a 2-2 92 MPH fastball past the veteran outfielder, and he drove in two runs on a single to right field.

With his pitch count at 96 (66 strikes), Porcello’s night would come to an end. I’m sure it did not end the way he wanted it to, but after the rough month he had, this outing is certainly encouraging headed into June.

Joe Kelly got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he would be tasked with getting the final out of the inning with runners on second and third. Thankfully, Kelly retired the only batter he faced in the seventh, Kevin Pillar, on a three pitch strikeout. The Red Sox flamethrower would come back out for a second frame of work in the eighth, and despite hitting a batter, got out of the inning unscathed.

Entering the ninth with a five run lead to work with, Hector Velazquez was able to get some work in, but he loaded the bases before recording an out. In a bit of a jam, Alex Cora had to turn to Craig Kimbrel when it didn’t look like he was going to be needed a half inning prior.

Facing the top of the Blue Jays order, Kimbrel struck out the first batter he saw in Kevin Pillar on seven pitches. Down to their last out, Kimbrel got Yangervis Solarte to ground out to third, and Rafael Devers made the throw to Dustin Pedroia for the force out at second. Ballgame over.

On the other side of things, Mitch Moreland got the scoring started for the Red Sox right away in the first inning. He drove in Xander Bogaerts on a hard hit double, then JD Martinez drove in Moreland from second on a double of his own.

Speaking of doubles, Sandy Leon had two of them last night. The first one came with one out in the second inning, and he came across to score two batters later when Andrew Benintendi picked up his 38th RBI of the season on another two-bagger off of Jays starter Marco Estrada.

Fast forward to the fourth, and the bottom of the Red Sox lineup came through again. A single and stolen base from Brock Holt put a runner in scoring position with two outs for Jackie Bradley Jr. On the first pitch he saw from Estrada, Bradley ripped a single to left field, and that allowed Holt to easily score from second.

In the sixth, with new pitcher Joe Biagini on the mound for Toronto, back to back singles from Rafael Devers and Dustin Pedroia, his first hit of the season, put runners on first and third with no outs. After Brock Holt struck out looking, Sandy Leon added on to his big day at the plate by grounding a RBI double past both the pitcher and the second baseman.

An inning later, Xander Bogaerts led things off by mashing his eighth home run of the season. He had 10 all of last year.

Finally, in the eighth, Sandy Leon capped off his incredible night with a two-run missile to the Red Sox bullpen to put this game out of reach.

Having won four of their past five games, Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball this afternoon in the series finale against the Blue Jays. He will be matched up against righty Sam Gaviglio. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET. Mookie Betts should be back in the lineup on Thursday.

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RECAP: Hanley Ramirez Homers for Third Time in Four Days as #RedSox Even Things up with Blue Jays.

Less than 24 hours after getting walked off by Luke Maile in extra innings, the Red Sox took the field for the middle game of this three-game weekend set in Toronto. Fortunately, this one was less of a nail biter than Friday’s night contest, and did not have to be decided in extras.

David Price made his first start for the Red Sox since the first game of the road trip they are currently on. Due to a bout with mild carpal tunnel syndrome in his left hand, Price was held out of his originally scheduled start this past Wednesday in New York. Three days later, he was back on the mound in Toronto for his eighth start of the season.

Contrary to how he looked before the carpal tunnel announcement, the Red Sox lefty put together a solid effort in his return to the mound on Saturday. In 5.1 innings pitched, Price held the Blue Jays to just two runs on five hits while walking three and tying a season high in strikeouts with six of them on the afternoon. The only real costly mistake the Tennessee native made came in the bottom of the sixth. With Justin Smoak at the plate to lead things off for the Jays, Price could not sneak a 93 MPH fastball by the Blue Jays first baseman, as he sent it 380 feet to left field for his teams second and final run of the day.

After that solo shot, Price would face one more batter in Kevin Pillar, who he got to pop out for the first out of the bottom half of the sixth inning. I don’t know if the fan running on the field had anything to do with it, but it looked like Price was prepared to at least finish the sixth. That did not happen though, as Alex Cora pulled him in favor of Carson Smith. The only inning in which the 32-year-old did not deal with baserunners was the second inning, when he struck out the side on 14 pitches. He ended his day with 93 pitches thrown, 55 of which went for strikes and his next start will more than likely come against the Baltimore Orioles sometime next week back at Fenway Park.

With Price’s day over and 11 outs still to get, Carson Smith would be the first man out of the Red Sox bullpen. Making his second appearance in the series. The righty did not need to do much, as he retired the only two batters he faced on 12 pitches, one of those including a strikeout. Slowly but surely, Smith has been looking better and better for the Red Sox. Since the calendar turned from April to May, the native of Texas has tossed six scoreless innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. His ERA has steadily decreased over the past few weeks, and it now stands at 3.38, the lowest its been since Opening Day.

After the conclusion of the sixth inning, the next three pitchers that came out of the Red Sox bullpen were nearly perfect. In three combined innings of work, Hector Velazquez, Joe Kelly, and Craig Kimbrel held the Blue Jays to zero runs on just two hits while striking out five. For Velazquez, today marked his first appearance in a game since the third for May. And for Kimbrel, today’s 1-2-3 ninth marked his 11th save of the season, that’s good for second in the American League.

On the other side of things, it took a little bit for the Red Sox lineup to get going against Jays starter Marco Estrada. For Estrada, he has not had a fun time facing the Red Sox as of late, and that sort of proved true on Saturday. After Christian Vazquez led the top of the third off with a fly out to left, three straight hits from the top of the lineup put three runs on the board.

A Mookie Betts double, followed by another double from Andrew Benintendi, plated the first run of the day for the Red Sox. Then Hanley Ramirez followed that up with a hit of his own, except his hit went out of the park.

That 89 MPH fastball from Estrada was sent 376 feet to left by the Red Sox first baseman for his sixth big fly of the season. Over the past four games, Ramirez has accounted for half of his season total with three homers in just 18 at bats.

Fast forward to the sixth, a one out double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts set up an ideal situation for Rafael Devers. After striking out in his first two at bats, Devers saw something he liked on the first pitch from Estrada and ripped a single to center field, allowing Bogaerts to score easily from second base. For Devers, it was his 24th RBI of the season.

Later on in the ninth, the Betts-Benintendi connection hooked up once again, as Benintendi pretty much put this one away with an RBI single that scored Betts from second after he had doubled in the prior at bat.

Some notes from this game:

In 11 games played this month, Mookie Betts has recorded more than one hit in five of them after his three hit performance on Friday.

Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez may both be heating up at the same time, as Benintendi currently has a five game hitting streak going on, while Ramirez has recorded a hit in six of the last seven games he has appeared in.

Speaking of hitting streaks, JD Martinez’s 12 game streak unfortunately came to end this afternoon, as he was held hitless for the first time since April 28th.

A three-day mental break clearly did Jackie Bradley Jr. no favors, as he was held hitless in four at bats today in his first start in center since May 8th. He is now 2 for his last 27.

On a more positive note, the Red Sox have the chance to end their long road trip with a series win tomorrow afternoon. Drew Pomeranz is on the mound for the visiting side, while it will be righty Joe Biagini getting the start for Toronto. First pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM ET, should be a good way to spend Mothers Day.