Reeling Red Sox try to salvage series split vs. Blue Jays

MLB

The Boston Red Sox will take good news anywhere they can, and the possibility of a split of a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon would qualify.

The struggling Red Sox eked out a 2-1 extra-inning victory on Saturday night to salvage a split in a doubleheader and win for only the second time in 10 games. The outcome ended the Blue Jays’ winning streak at five games.

The Blue Jays won the first game Saturday 1-0 on walkoff home run in the seventh inning by Marcus Semien.

“Overall, we haven’t been able to do much,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It’s tough to lose 1-0. At some point, we’re going to hit. We just have to stay with our approach.”

It looked like more of the same in the second game. The Red Sox fell behind 1-0, but Alex Verdugo tied it with a home run in the sixth inning. Jonathan Arauz singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth.

“This win was huge,” Verdugo said. “It’s big to come out here and win a game like that, and kind of try to get the momentum going back on our side.”

“We only scored two runs today, so I feel good that we split,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “The pitching today was really good for both sides. There’s nothing wrong with splitting when you only score two runs.”

The Blue Jays have won two of the first three games of the series, but Boston leads the season series between the teams 10-8 with one game remaining.

The Blue Jays, who are 8-2 on a homestand that ends Sunday, will start left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.22 ERA), while right-hander Garrett Richards (6-7, 5.21) will start for the Red Sox.

Ryu has faced Boston three times this year, going 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA. In five career outings against the Red Sox, he is 2-2, 2.40.

Richards is 2-2, 6.15, in five starts against the Blue Jays this season. In 13 career games (11 starts) against them, he is 4-6, 5.60.

The game Sunday will complete the Blue Jays’ first homestand at the Rogers Centre since the end of the 2019 season because of COVID-19 restrictions. Crowds were capped at 15,000 for each game, with a combined attendance of 27,427 announced for the split doubleheader Saturday.

“This fan base is great; it’s awesome they’re coming out and hanging on every pitch,” said Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray, who pitched six scoreless innings in the first game. “It’s been fun the past couple of days. It feels like we’re clicking on all cylinders. Early on, it seemed when we were pitching well, the hitting was lagging and (vice versa). It feels now like everything is coming together and we’re doing all the small things.”

Boston added J.D. Martinez to the COVID-related injured list Saturday. Connor Wong was recalled from Triple A Worcester.

Red Sox bench coach Will Venable tested positive for COVID-19, the team said.

Toronto put left-hander Tim Mayza (left-elbow inflammation) on the injured list and optioned left-hander Ryan Borucki to Triple-A Buffalo. Right-hander Patrick Murphy and left-hander Kirby Snead were recalled from Buffalo. Right-hander Trent Thornton was the 27th man for the doubleheader.

–Field Level Media

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