TORONTO – Marco Hernandez hit a solo home run in the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox stormed back for a 8-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.
Hernandez, pinch hitting for Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon, sent a line drive just over the outstretched glove of Toronto left-fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. with one out in the ninth.
Cavan Biggio and Justin Smoak walked in Toronto’s half of the ninth, but Rowdy Tellez popped out and pinch hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded out to end the game.
Michael Chavis’s three-run blast capped off a six-run sixth-inning for Boston (46-41), and Rafael Devers had a solo shot of his own in the first inning.
Danny Jansen had two home runs for the Blue Jays (33-55) and Freddy Galvis also had a homer.
Starting pitcher Hector Velazquez gave up three runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings for the Red Sox. Colten Brewer came on in relief, allowing three runs in a 1 2/3 innings. Josh Taylor, Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes all pitched scoreless innings before Brandon Workman (8-1) allowed a run.
Derek Law was Toronto’s “opener,” against Boston on Thursday, with Thomas Pannone coming in after to work the middle innings.
The unusual setup was necessary after Marcus Stroman couldn’t make his scheduled start because of ongoing issues with a cramp in his non-throwing shoulder.
The opener tactic didn’t go as planned, with Law giving up a home run and a single in two-thirds of an inning. Pannone went 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs. Tim Mayza followed him, giving up a pair of runs in Boston’s six-run sixth inning.
Joe Biagini and Nick Kingham had scoreless innings of relief for the Blue Jays, before closer Ken Giles (1-2) came on in the ninth. It was his third-straight appearance and fatigue may have been a factor as he gave up Hernandez’s game-winning run and took the loss.
Devers put a 3-1 pitch from Law over the right-field fence for a 1-0 Boston lead after two at bats.
Tellez replied for Toronto in the bottom of the first, stroking a bases-loaded two-out single to the outfield to score Galvis and Biggio.
Jansen added to that lead in the second, smashing a 3-2 pitch from Velazquez to dead centre. It was Jansen’s fifth home run in his last seven games.
He didn’t stop there, hitting his sixth homer in seven games in his next at bat, driving the ball to centre field on the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning.
Jansen’s recent power surge is a huge improvement over the two homers he had in his previous 57 games.
Galvis hit his two-run shot in the same inning, putting the ball just over the left-field wall, bringing home Brandon Drury from third base for a 6-1 Blue Jays lead.
Xander Bogaerts answered with an RBI single in the sixth inning with no outs. The hit plated Mookie Betts and advanced Devers to third. In the next at bat, Martinez hit another single to score Devers and end Pannone’s night with the score 6-3 for Toronto.
Mayza took the mound, inducing a pop fly by pinch hitter Eduardo Nunez to Jansen behind the plate.
But then Mayza’s wild pitch allowed Bogaerts and Martinez to advance. Mayza then walked Christian Vazquez to load the bases.
Galvis backed Mayza up with a smart sliding grab on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s sharply hit ball for a forceout of Vazquez at second, but allowing Bogaerts to score.
Chavis then came to the plate and took Mayza’s 2-2 slider over the left-field wall to drive home Marinez and Bradley for a 7-6 Boston lead. Sandy Leon’s line out to centre field then ended the disastrous half inning for the Blue Jays.
Eric Sogard tied it 7-7 for Toronto in the eighth, doubling to centre field to bring home Jansen, who had reached base on a ground-rule double.
Notes: Stroman had to leave Sunday’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals after five innings with cramps in his non-throwing shoulder. Montoyo said before Thursday’s game that Stroman is day to day and may not pitch again before Monday’s all-star break. … Announced attendance at Rogers Centre was 22,217.
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