Red Sox beat Blue Jays 2-1 in 8 to earn doubleheader split

Sports

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Robbie Ray delivers in the first inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox in Toronto, Saturday Aug. 7, 2021. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Jonathan Araúz singled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat Toronto 2-1 Saturday night to split a doubleheader with the Blue Jays.

Matt Barnes (6-3) worked one inning for the win and Adam Ottavino finished for his eighth save in 12 opportunities as the Red Sox won for the second time in their past 10 games and snapped Toronto’s season-high five-game winning streak.

“This win was huge,” said Boston’s Alex Verdugo, whose sixth-inning homer tied the score at 1-all. “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.”

Facing right-hander Adam Cimber (2-3), Araúz grounded a leadoff single past shortstop Bo Bichette to score Franchy Cordero, who started the inning on second base.

Toronto won the opener 1-0 when Marcus Semien led off the bottom of the seventh by connecting on the first pitch from Barnes (5-3). It was Semien’s 26th home run of the season and the first game-ending homer of his career.

The Blue Jays are 8-2 since returning to Toronto July 30. Jordan Romano (5-1) earned the win in the first game with a scoreless inning of relief.

“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.”

Before the opener, Boston put slugger J.D. Martinez on the COVID-19-related injured list. The Red Sox have scored five runs or fewer in 15 consecutive games.

Making his second start for Toronto, right-hander José Berríos allowed one run and five hits in the second game of the doubleheader. He walked none and struck out six.

Berríos had pitched 11 consecutive scoreless innings to begin his Blue Jays career but gave up Verdugo’s homer in the sixth. The homer was Verdugo’s 11th.

“That’s a big swing,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “It’s a game-changer. You could feel it in the building a little bit.”

A walk and a single gave Boston men at first and second with nobody out against right-hander Trevor Richards in the seventh, but the threat fizzled when both runners were thrown out.

First, Marwin Gonzalez got caught in a rundown between second and third after Franchy Cordero whiffed on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Cordero later struck out as part of a double play, with Christian Vazquez thrown out attempting to steal third.

Asked about the baserunning blunders, Cora said he didn’t want to dwell on them Saturday.

“I’ll talk to them tomorrow,” he said. “Let’s celebrate this one. I promised myself that I’m not going to look back at that one.”

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a deep drive to center off Barnes in the bottom of the seventh but Kiké Hernandéz made a leaping catch at the wall.

“He crushed that ball,” Cora said. ”He’s a special kid. I know Barnsey thought it was gone, he threw his hands up. It was a loud out. We’ll take it.”

Red Sox right-hander Tanner Houck started the second game and left with runners at first and second and two outs in the fourth. Left-hander Josh Taylor came on in relief and gave up an RBI single to Breyvic Valera.

Toronto failed to hit a home run in the night game, snapping a streak of 20 straight games with at least one homer.

Semien’s game-winning drive in the opener was the 166th of the season for the Blue Jays, who began the day tied with San Francisco for the MLB lead.

VENABLE TESTS POSITIVE

Boston bench coach Will Venable has tested positive for COVID-19, the team said during the first game. With first base coach Tom Goodwin in quarantine after close exposure to Venable, quality control coach Ramon Vazquez coached first base. Cora and Red Sox coaches wore masks on the field and in the dugout, and some Boston reserves were also masked. “We’ve got to take care of our group,” Cora said. “For now, we’ll do our best to wear masks in the dugout and, obviously, inside.”

SO CLOSE, SO FAR AWAY

The Blue Jays are 2-7 in extra-inning games and 7-13 in one-run outcomes.

RARE TWINBILL

This was the fourth doubleheader in Toronto since they moved into their retractable-roofed dome in 1989. The Blue Jays had swept all three previous doubleheaders, beating the Angels in 1989, Cleveland in 2001, and Kansas City in 2018.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: LHP Tim Mayza (elbow) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Aug. 6, and LHP Ryan Borucki was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. Toronto recalled LHP Kirby Snead and RHP Patrick Murphy from Triple-A. RHP Trent Thornton was the 27th man for the doubleheader.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (elbow surgery) allowed two hits over 4 2/3 scoreless innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester. Sale walked three and struck out eight. Cora said Friday that Saturday’s outing could be Sale’s final rehab start before rejoining the Red Sox. Sale had Tommy John surgery in March 2020. … Boston recalled C Connor Wong from Triple-A.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.22) faces Red Sox RHP Garrett Richards (6-7, 5.21) in Sunday’s finale, the last of 19 meetings this season between the AL East rivals. Ryu is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in five career games against Boston.

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