Toronto doubled Boston in hits Friday night at Fenway Park, but it was the Red Sox who claimed the first game of the series between division rivals.
Trailing by as many as four in the opener, the Red Sox ignited a rally in the sixth inning and ultimately walked off in the ninth. Alex Verdugo was the hero for Boston, as his wall-ball single sealed Boston’s 6-5 win.
Garrett Richards did not earn a victory, but the Sox starter showed plenty of fight over his 5 1/3 innings of work in which he allowed four runs. Boston’s bullpen once again rose to the occasion, especially in the late innings.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 39-25, while the Blue Jays drop to 31-30.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
Not much was going Boston’s way in the early going, but the Sox stayed with it to earn their second straight win.
ON THE BUMP
— Richards was fortunate to limit the Blue Jays to one one in the first inning.
Marcus Semien walked to lead off the game and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. followed with a one-out single.
Teoscar Hernandez proceeded to drive home Semien with a liner to right field. Toronto appeared to be bound for a big inning when Randal Grichuk singled to load the bases, but a Rowdy Tellez line out and a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. strikeout got Richards and the Sox out of dodge.
The second wasn’t as kind to Boston’s starter. Reese McGuire roped a one-out double and was plated by a two-out single from Bo Bichette. Bichette ultimately scored following a Guerrero walk and a Hernandez single.
Richards settled in from there. He notched his first scoreless frame of the game in the third and only needed five pitches to complete the fourth. Richards allowed a single and a double in the fifth but didn’t surrender a run.
The right-hander started the sixth but was removed after allowing a one-out single to Semien.
— Hirozaku Sawamura replaced Richards and induced a Bichette line out on his first batter faced. Sawamura wasn’t able to keep the Jays off the board, however, as he gave up a booming two-run shot to Guerrero before notching the final out of the sixth.
— Brandon Workman started the seventh and allowed two singles while only recording one out before he was pulled. Fortunately for Workman and the Red Sox, Josh Taylor cleaned up the mess, striking out Cavan Biggio and Riley Adams to end the inning.
— Garrett Whitlock allowed a lead-off single to Semien but caught the Toronto second baseman leaning and picked him off. The right-hander finished off his scoreless eighth with punchouts of Bichette and Guerrero.
It wasn’t pretty, but Whitlock also kept the visitors at bay in the ninth. Hernandez, leading off the inning, reached on an error and Tellez smacked a one-out single. Biggio was intentionally walked after Gurriel struck out and Adams grounded out to end the inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Bobby Dalbec got the Red Sox on the board when he clobbered a solo home run.
— Boston nearly batted around in what was a wild, three-run sixth inning.
Verdugo doubled to start the frame, but it looked like the two-bagger would go by the wayside when J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers responded with a fly out and a ground out, respectively. But Hunter Renfroe kept the inning alive and knocked in the Sox’s second run with a single up the middle.
Christian Vázquez followed with an opposite-field single and Christian Arroyo walked to load the bases. Boston’s next two runs were a byproduct of Tyler Chatwood’s lack of control, as the Toronto right-hander walked Marwin Gonzalez and yanked a wild pitch on the next batter.
Tim Mayza ultimately replaced Chatwood and induced a Kiké Hernández ground ball to end the frame.
— Arroyo delivered a second clutch home run in as many nights, belting a solo home run over the Green Monster in the eighth inning.
— Hernández slapped a routine grounder to lead off the ninth, but an errant throw by Bichette allowed Boston’s center fielder to not only reach but also advance to second. Verdugo did the rest, peppering the Green Monster to bring in the game-winning run.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Arroyo’s hot streak goes beyond the batter’s box.
The Red Sox and the Blue Jays continue their four-game series Saturday. Nick Pivetta is slated to take the hill for Boston opposite Steven Matz. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 4:10 p.m. ET.