The Red Sox were trailing the Blue Jays for the majority of the night on Friday, yet still found a way to battle their way back from a 5-1 deficit for another comeback victory at Fenway Park.
For the second night in a row, Christian Arroyo came through in the clutch with a game-tying solo home run off Blue Jays reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to knot things up at five runs a piece.
In the ninth, Enrique Hernandez led things off against Jays closer Rafael Dolis by reaching first base on a throwing error committed by shortstop Bo Bichette, and then advanced to second — into scoring position — because of Toronto’s mistake.
The speedy Danny Santana pinch-ran for Hernandez as he represented the winning run, though he did not stick at second base for long.
That being the case because Alex Verdugo laced an RBI single off the Green Monster to score Santana and walk things off for the Sox in what would go down as a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.
Verdugo’s first walk-off hit in a Red Sox uniform sealed Boston’s 23rd come-from-behind victory of the season, which is the most in the major-leagues.
With the win, the Sox improve to 39-25 (19-15 at home) on the year. They remain a game back of the Rays for first place in the American League East.
Richards gets off to rocky start, but settles in
Garrett Richards made his 13th start of the season for Boston to begin things on Friday.
The right-hander labored through his first two innings of work — and surrendered three runs as a result — but was able to pitch into the sixth before his day ended.
After throwing 64 pitches to record six outs while yielding a healthy amout of hard contact, Richards settled in nicely, stringing together three straight scoreless frames leading up to the sixth, at which point he gave up a one-out single to Marcus Semien, and that was that.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 101 (66 strikes) to eclipse the century mark for the first time this season, the 33-year-old hurler also allowed a season-high 11 hits. His next start should come against the Braves on Wednesday.
Sawamura serves up moonshot to Vlad Jr.
In relief of Richards, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen, and he allowed the lone runner he inherited to score by serving up a towering 443-foot two-run homer to the vaunted Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Guerrero Jr.’s blast gave the Blue Jays a 5-1 lead and officially closed the book on Richards’ night as the Sox starter wound up getting charged with four earned runs to raise his ERA on the season to 4.09. Sawamura was able to get out of the sixth.
Taylor bails out Workman
From there, Brandon Workman only managed to retire one of the three hitters he faced in the seventh, which led Red Sox manager Alex Cora to deploy Josh Taylor.
Taylor fanned the only two Blue Jays he faced (Cavan Biggio, Riley Adams), to strand a pair of runners in scoring position and extend his scoreless appearances streak to 17 consecutive games.
Whitlock closes it out
Garrett Whitlock took over in the eighth, maneuvered his way around a leadoff single in his first inning of work, and also stranded the potential go-ahead runs by leaving the bases loaded in a scoreless top half of the ninth. The right-hander would earn his second winning decision of the season.
Dalbec’s homer gets scoring started for Sox
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran right-hander in the form of Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling.
Bobby Dalbec kicked off the scoring for the Sox against Stripling by crushing his seventh home run of the season — a 441-foot solo shot to dead center field — to cut Toronto’s lead down to two runs at 3-1.
Three-run sixth with a side of wildness
Fast forward to the sixth, and the Red Sox knocked Stripling out of this contest when Hunter Renfroe drove in Alex Verdugo on a two-out RBI single to center field and Christian Vazquez followed with a single of his own.
Blue Jays reliever Tyler Chatwood did not fare much better, as he plunked Christian Arroyo to load the bases, walked in a run by issuing a free pass to Marwin Gonzalez, and threw a wild pitch that allowed Vazquez to score from third to trim the deficit to one run. 5-4.
Verdugo walks it off
With contributions from the likes of Garrett Whitlock and Christian Arroyo in the eighth and ninth innings, Alex Verdugo sent the Fenway faithful into a frenzy with a game-sealing walk-off single in the bottom half of the ninth.
It should be noted that Verdugo played a quality left field on Friday night as well.
Next up: Matz vs. Pivetta
Saturday’s starting pitching matchup between the Blue Jays and Red Sox will feature a pair of former National League East foes going at it.
Ex-Mets left-hander Steven Matz will be getting the start for Toronto, and he will be opposed by ex-Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta getting the start for Boston.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Alex Verdugo and Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)