In the final game of the series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Boston Red Sox took advantage of the pitching matchup. Red Sox righty Joe Kelly had been on a seven-game winning streak, coming into last night’s game, while Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison brought a 9.00 ERA in road games into Fenway Park. The results were much the same, with designated hitter David Ortiz inching ever closer to history.
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Red Sox Nation must have been happy to see that the home run gods were kinder to them than Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson. After having two home runs called back the night before, Donaldson and the rest of the Jays had to watch and wait for another umpire review of a blast off of the top of the Green Monster. Fortunately for Boston, Mookie Betts‘ blast in the bottom of the third inning hit past the fence line and was called a home run, instead of only a double, which helped the Red Sox take the early lead.
Hutchison was cruising up until that point; then, he started to look like a nervous wreck. Ortiz must have sensed something was wrong with the Jays’ starter, because he started his leg kick at the plate almost before Hutchison uncoiled in his delivery. It looked like Ortiz knew that a fastball was coming, and he jumped all over it, absolutely destroying the ball into the deepest part of the park. The shot also cashed in Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts for Ortiz’s 498th home run of his career. If he reaches 500, Ortiz will make another $3 million from the incentives in his contract.
The Blue Jays responded in the top of the fourth inning, as Edwin Encarnacion, who continues to be red hot after a stunning August at the plate, singled sharply to left field to score Ben Revere. However, that was pretty much the only real trouble that Kelly had on the mound, last night. His delivery was very slow, but deliberate, making sure that he hit his spots.
His catcher, Ryan Hanigan, continued the run support for Kelly by doubling to score Rusney Castillo in the bottom of the fourth. Betts followed that up with a double of his own, off of reliever Liam Hendricks, to score Hanigan, making the board read 6-1 in favor of the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays brought in Steve Delabar in the bottom of the fifth inning, to much of the same punishment. Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval belted a single with the bases loaded, scoring Bogaerts. Hanigan followed with another double to score Travis Shaw and Sandoval, and Betts capped the frame, once again, by reaching on a force out to second base that allowed Castillo to score off of yet another Jays reliever, Jeff Francis. The lead was then 10-1.
Even a three-run homer by Chris Colabello couldn’t bring the Blue Jays back on even terms. Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow may have given up the blast, but he didn’t give up the game. The Red Sox won 10-4.
- The Red Sox went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left six on base. The Blue Jays, the offensive juggernaut, went 3-for-8 and left six on base.
- Boston’s bats knocked Hutchison out of the game early, earning six runs on six hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
- Allen Craig pinch-hit for Ortiz in the bottom of the eighth. Craig struck out.
- Castillo continued to do well at the dish, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
For his eighth straight win, Kelly looked dominating. He didn’t do it with heat, although he was bringing his A-game fastball. Kelly paced himself, looked in control, and was comfortable hitting his spots to avoid the big Blue Jays bats. Kelly threw 110 pitches, 66 for strikes, and only allowed one run on six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts in 5.2 innings. The win was Kelly’s 10th of the season, looking ever more like he has turned the corner on being a starter in Boston. Maybe he’s turned expert opinions around, about him being a closer instead of a starter, as well.
This grade would have been an A if it wasnt for Breslow giving up three runs on three hits in the one inning he had. Machi and Hembree did their jobs, not allowing a hit in their innings. Luckily for Breslow, the Red Sox offense had put the game out of reach much earlier.
Ortiz will have his day when, not if, he reaches 500 career homers. Last night, however, belonged to Hanigan and Betts. The two men combined to go 5-for-8 at the plate, with six RBIs and two runs scored. They drove in runs together twice, hammering the hopes of Blue Jays fans everywhere.
As a team, the Red Sox hit 14 times for 10 RBIs, with four walks and six strikeouts. Everyone in the starting lineup, except for Jackie Bradley Jr., earned a hit, which put a ton of pressure on the Blue Jays starter and their bullpen. With many baseball insiders picking the Blue Jays to win this year’s World Series, the Red Sox looked like giant-killers. It’s not like the Jays took the night off, with being in a division race against the New York Yankees. Maybe the Red Sox are ready to pull themselves out of the American League East cellar next year. Maybe not. It’s nice to dream, though.
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