The Red Sox once again were lifted by the bat of outfielder Alex Verdugo on Monday night, and it helped Boston take a 5-4 comeback win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
Verdugo, who broke up a no-hitter in the eighth inning of Sunday’s comeback win over the New York Yankees, hit the ball out of the park Monday night for a two-run home run. The 414-foot blast to right-center, out over the Red Sox bullpen, erased Boston’s one-run deficit and gave the home team a 5-4 lead with just three outs to play.
Matt Barnes came in to shut the door in the ninth inning, but it was Verdugo who was the biggest hero of the night. He lifted Boston to its 33rd comeback win of the season, the most in Major League Baseball.
Verdugo expressed the wide range of emotions he felt after unleashing the game-winner.
“Yeah, I hit it and I’m not going to lie, I said to the guys ‘If that wasn’t going to go out it would have been one of the most embarrassing moments ever,’ ” Verdugo said during a postgame video conference. “Right off the bat I felt like I got that one good enough, I felt like I barreled it, the right launch angle, everything. So if that didn’t go I would have been devastated. I would have just crawled in a little corner and stayed there.”
Verdugo further explained his approach at the plate.
“I wasn’t trying to hit a home run. I think I’ve been trying to hit my 10th home run for the last month and a half now,” Verdugo said. “I was going in there and not trying to do too much. It’s ironic that that happens, but I was just trying to see a pitch and get one out over the zone and put a good swing on it. He left a changeup out over (the plate), I was able to get barrel on it, stay through it and good things happen.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Blue Jays:
— The 62-39 Red Sox now are a season-best 23 games over .500 following Monday’s win. Boston is 7-3 since the MLB All-Star break, playing the Yankees and Blue Jays each of the last 10 games.
“We know the stretch we’re in. … So far we’ve done a good job,” manager Alex Cora said postgame. “We’ve played some tough competition, that’s a good baseball team over there. They put some pressure on you offensively, they’re bullpen is a lot better than earlier in the season, and I’m just glad we got the W.”
— Franchy Cordero recorded multiple hits Monday for the fourth time in his Red Sox tenure.
Cordero, who got the start at first base, was 2-for-4 at the plate with single to load the bases in the second inning and a lead-off single in the fourth. Cordero’s second-inning single advanced Verdugo to third base and Verdugo scored the very next batter. He has eight hits in his last 23 at bats with Boston.
— Nick Pivetta admitted the energy wasn’t there for him when he took the mound, and it showed a bit as he allowed four runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Pivetta struck out three batters with 59 of his 92 pitches being thrown for strikes. Pivetta pitched less than five innings just one time in his first 11 starts this season but has now done so three times in his last five starts.
“Some days you just have you C-stuff, and today I had my C-stuff,” Pivetta said postgame.
— Phillips Valdez put together another strong relief bid Monday after a noteworthy performance against the Yankees on Friday.
Valdez limited the Blue Jays to just two hits in 2 1/3 innings while striking out a pair of batters. He retired the side in order in the sixth and induced an inning-ending double play in the seventh.
“He did what he did the other day against the Yankees, he gave us a chance to win,” Cora said.
— The Red Sox return to Fenway Park on Tuesday for the second game of their four-game set against the Blue Jays.