The Boston Red Sox earned their first comeback win of the season Friday night by overcoming a five-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 at Rogers Centre.
Sox starter Joe Kelly gave up seven earned runs in less than four innings of work, but he was bailed out by a red-hot Boston lineup (highlighted by Brock Holt’s five RBIs) and six strong innings from the bullpen.
Here’s a recap of the Red Sox’s second win of 2016.
GAME IN A WORD
This was one of the most entertaining games of the early MLB season. These American League East rivals combined for 15 runs, 20 hits and a pair of grand slams. Thirteen of the 18 starters on both teams collected at least one hit, and four Red Sox batters had multiple hits.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Craig Kimbrel shut the door in the ninth inning to pick up his first save as the Red Sox closer. He was acquired in an offseason trade with the San Diego Padres.
ON THE BUMP
— Joe Kelly gave up a leadoff triple to Kevin Pillar, who was able to reach third because Mookie Betts misplayed the ball in right field and allowed it to sail over his head. Pillar scored on a sacrifice by Edwin Encarnacion later in the inning as Kelly retired the side without further damage.
Kelly ran into trouble in the fourth when he loaded the bases with no outs. Darwin Barney stroked an RBI single — Toronto’s fourth consecutive hit of the inning — into right field to plate one run and tie the game 2-2. Kelly threw a pitch that grazed the brim of Pillar’s helmet in the next at-bat, which forced in a run.
Reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson then hit a grand slam to extend Toronto’s lead to 7-2 and end Kelly’s outing.
Kelly gave up seven earned runs, seven hits, walked three and stuck out four over three innings.
— Noe Ramirez relieved Kelly and held Toronto at bay. He gave up zero runs, two hits, walked one and struck out four in two innings of work.
— Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless sixth inning on nine pitches, six of which were strikes. He allowed zero hits. Junichi Tazawa pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless eighth inning to set up a save opportunity for Kimbrel. He walked the leadoff man but retired both Donaldson and Jose Bautista to end the frame.
— Kimbrel retired Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Saunders for save No. 1. He led the National League in saves from 2011 through 2014.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Brock Holt plated the first Red Sox run in the second inning when he doubled to center field, scoring Travis Shaw. Holt’s double was the third of three consecutive hits for the Sox in the frame. Another run would have scored, but Hanley Ramirez previously was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.
Holt also hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, giving him a career-high 5 RBIs for the game. It was Holt’s second homer of the season, tying his total from all of 2015.
— Xander Bogaerts drove an opposite field single in the third inning for his first hit of the season. He later scored for Boston’s second run. He also doubled in the fifth inning and singled in the seventh. Bogaerts scored a game-high three times.
— David Ortiz hit an RBI double in the third inning to give the Red Sox their first lead. He also hit an RBI single in the seventh that tied the game 7-7. Ortiz finished 2 for 4 with a walk, two RBIs and one strikeout.
— Ramirez collected two hits, including an RBI single in the seventh that scored the go-ahead run.
— Shaw went 1 for 2 with two runs scored and a walk. Chris Young pinch hit for Shaw in the seventh but failed to get on base.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
The Red Sox and Blue Jays continue their weekend series Saturday at 1:07 p.m. ET on NESN. The probable pitching matchup is Rick Porcello (Boston) versus R.A. Dickey (Toronto).
Thumbnail photo via Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Apr 8, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox left fielder Brock Holt (12) is greeted at home plate by shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) after hitting a grand slam home run against Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports