The Blue Jays never liked Chris Sale.
In three meetings against the left-handed Red Sox ace this season, Toronto had only been able to muster a total of 11 hits, two hits and not a single run over 22 innings. It’s fair to say that Sale had the Jays’ number this season, which didn’t bode well for the visitors in their fourth meeting with the king of strikeouts on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
That was the case until Sale took the mound Tuesday and left after throwing 92 pitches over just five innings where he allowed five earned runs, including a career-worst four home runs—two of them to the red-hot Josh Donaldson—as the Blue Jays powered to an overwhelming 9-4 victory over Boston.
Donaldson Drives Two Over the Wall; Hernández, Morales Contribute to the Derby
With the Red Sox aiming to move one step closer to clinching the American League East division title, Donaldson would rain on Boston’s parade early with yet another first-inning blast—his 15th of the season and 32nd overall—over the green monster in left to get things started for Toronto.
Despite having that early advantage almost immediately erased in the bottom of the inning with a Chris Young double that plated Xander Bogaerts from first, Donaldson would bring the rain yet again in the third, sending another blast—this one into the opposite field in right—to score the go-ahead run yet again for the Jays.
A couple innings later, after Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ had retired 12 in a row after giving up the tying run in the first, a wild fifth inning would further consolidate Toronto’s advantage against Sale in the most unexpected fashion.
Rookie Teoscar Hernández, who has enjoyed a sensational month at the plate since being called up from the minor leagues, connected on the first pitch he saw to open the inning, sending it way back over the green monster to make it double Toronto’s lead lead.
“For the pitchers, when they never faced a hitter, it’s tough because you don’t know how to pitch to him,” said Hernández, who watched video pre-game of Sale before facing him for the first time Tuesday. “But I looked at some videos and I looked at at-bats for Donaldson... and from [José] Bautista too. That’s when I got that one of the easiest pitches to hit was the breaking ball. It’s hard but if he’s hanging one, you can put a good swing on it.”
A few batters later, with two outs, Bautista would send a ball into left field to record his 27th double of the season before Kendrys Morales sent another one over the top of the monster in left, extending the lead to 5-1 with his 28th moonshot of the year.
Hernández Records Second Multi-Homer Game
The Blue Jays would continue to build on their lead in the top of the eighth, with pinch-hitter Ryan Goins getting things started with yet another clutch hit. Goins, who hit his second career Grand Slam last week and a career-high ninth homer on Monday, would continue to deliver when it mattered most, driving in Kevin Pillar with a single to left to make it 6-1.
That would bring the red-hot Hernández to the plate who, despite a pitching change in the eighth, would send another one over the green monster: this one a three-run shot off Heath Hembree over the wall in left to break the game wide open going into the bottom of the eighth.
Santos Slams Door on Sox Comeback
Down by eight and with nothing to lose, the Red Sox would soon come alive in the bottom of the inning against pitchers who pitched in relief of Happ, who held Boston to just a single run on four hits over seven innings in his final outing of the season.
Sandy León would get things started in the late rally for the Red Sox, sending his seventh homer over the wall in left to lead off the eighth. Later in the inning, with two outs, a stand-up triple from Chris Young, a Rajai Davis double and a Hanley Ramírez single would plate two more runs for the Sox, but that would be as far as their comeback would go as Ryan Tepera—the third reliever of the inning for Toronto—would come in and strike out Sam Travis to keep the damage to a minimum.
Since it wasn’t a save situation, the Jays decided to put in right-handed rookie Luis Santos, who has looked mightily impressive since making his major league début earlier this month, to close out the crucial victory and he did just that, retiring the side to clinch the series for Toronto.
The Jays will go for the sweep and look to make it four in a row on Wednesday night as Marco Estrada, who has gone 5-0 in his last six starts, takes to the mound against Rick Porcello, who has struggled to find any consistency from start-to-start—especially in home games this season.