The Boston Red Sox have not had much to cheer about this season but they have a chance to clinch their season series with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Sox have won two in a row after their 9-8 walk-off, ninth-inning win Saturday night after dropping the first two games of the five-game series.
“It was pretty fun,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “I don’t care what our record is, at any time, it’s pretty fun winning a game like that.”
The Red Sox (14-27) lead the season series 5-4 and could take the season series against the Blue Jays (21-18) for the fourth straight year with a win in the rubber match of the series on Sunday.
Left-hander Robbie Ray (1-4, 7.34 ERA) will make his first start and second appearance for Toronto since his acquisition in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Ray has faced the Red Sox once in his career, allowing one hit and no runs in two-thirds of an inning in relief in 2014.
Right-hander Andrew Triggs (0-2, 16.20 ERA) will make his first start for the Red Sox after being claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.
Triggs has faced Toronto twice in his career, including one start, and is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA over 3 1/3 innings.
Seven of the first nine meetings between the teams have been decided by one or two runs. The past three games have been decided by one run.
The Blue Jays are used to close encounters. They are 11-9 in games decided by one run this season as they currently sit in a playoff spot.
“We know we are going to be playing a lot of close games and that means having to play clean baseball,” said Blue Jays infielder Joe Panik, who had an RBI double in the seventh inning Saturday to give his team a 7-6 lead. “That means giving the teams 27 outs and that’s it. Don’t give away outs on the bases. Whatever it is, it’s learning how to play clean baseball.”
That has been a problem for the Blue Jays. They had two more needless outs on the bases Saturday when Jonathan Villar and Rowdy Tellez were thrown out from the outfield as they tried to advance on the bases.
“Neither one was good,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “The Villar one, the play is in front of him, so he can always stop. And the Rowdy one was not good either. I’m not defending that.”
And a throwing error in the ninth inning Saturday by catcher Caleb Joseph on Christian Vazquez’s stolen base set up the winning run. Vazquez was able to score the winning run on an infield chopper when third baseman Travis Shaw’s throw home was wide.
Joseph was activated Saturday and catcher Reese McGuire was optioned to the alternate training site.
“It was a good win,” Roenicke said. “I thought we did a great job offensively. We kept coming back. We busted out early, which has been something that we’ve been wanting to do.”
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who hit a two-run homer Saturday and had an outfield assist, will try to extend his hit streak to nine games Sunday.
Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a solo home run Saturday. He has 14 homers for the season. In 28 career games at Fenway Park, he has 11 home runs and 27 RBIs.
–Field Level Media