The Boston Red Sox brought it down to the wire, but they had just enough to earn a 4-3 win — their third straight — against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
It wasn’t a pretty win by any means, but the Red Sox definitely are trending upward after taking the first two games in Toronto, as well as four of the five games on their current road trip. All of those wins come against American League East teams, too, which Boston was in desperate need of coming into this four-game series.
Not to mention, Boston is winning games with a shallow bench after both Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia went down with injuries last week.
GAME IN A WORD
Both teams struggled, especially in the pitching department. Marco Estrada tripped out of the gate, giving up two earned runs on zero hits in the first inning and making it through just 2 1/3 for the Jays. Eduardo Rodriguez struggled with his control early as he tried not to tip his pitches, and although he made it through the sixth inning, he clearly was tipping them again later in his outing.
The offense wasn’t much better, either. Save for two key home runs, the Red Sox couldn’t get much done and were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Jays were 2-for-9.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
Koji Uehara did Koji Uehara things.
The Sox had control over the game until Tommy Layne gave up a two-run homer to Jose Reyes in the seventh, bringing the Blue Jays within a run of tying things up. But Uehara delivered a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save and gave Rodriguez the win.
ON THE BUMP
— It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Rodriguez, but it wasn’t a great one either. After a red-hot start, the 22-year-old is starting to go through some growing pains.
You could see how hard Rodriguez was trying not to give away his pitches, and that caused him to lose some control. When he regained his control, he started to tip his pitches again.
Still, it’s all part of the left-hander’s development. Tuesday night’s start was just the seventh in Rodriguez’s big-league career, and not every game will be his best. Not to mention, he pulled it together at the end and wound up allowing just four hits and one run with four strikeouts after retiring the final six batters he faced.
— Layne had a 5.23 ERA against righties heading into Tuesday’s contest, and they quickly chased him from the game. The left-hander recorded two outs in the seventh inning, but then gave up the homer to Reyes to give the Sox a scare.
— Alexi Ogando started his lone out in the seventh strong, but he ended up turning an 0-2 count into a full one. Brock Holt bailed him out with a diving stop to nab Josh Donaldson at first and rob him of a single.
Ogando had to come out in the eighth with set-up man Junichi Tazawa unavailable, and he managed to turn in a big 1-2-3 inning. The right-hander has gone 11 appearances and 11 2/3 innings without giving up a run.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— It’s kind of amazing that a team can score four runs and also not produce much offense, but that’s baseball for you. Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Ortiz’s solo shots were the keys to Boston’s offensive production, as the first two runs both were scored on walks.
— Mookie Betts was the only Red Sox to muster more than one hit, going 2-for-5 with a single and a double. Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval and Blake Swihart all went hitless.
TWEET OF THE GAME
OK, so there are two tweets of the game, but The Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson showed how Rodriguez was (subtly) giving his pitches away.
The Red Sox stay in Toronto for the third contest of the four-game series. It’s Canada Day in the Great White North, so Wednesday’s battle between Rick Porcello and Mark Buehrle starts at 1:07 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images