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Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: Red Sox take series as Doug Fister cruises again

Doug Fister is the greatest pitcher alive. (Statement may be false)

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a six-hour, 19-inning game on Tuesday, the Red Sox were really in need of a stress-free victory on Wednesday. Some water molecules falling from the sky probably made the stress-free part impossible in the strictest sense of the word, but other than that things were good. On the mound, they got yet another incredible performance from Doug Fister. The righty has been such a massive part of the team through it’s run over the last five or six weeks, and he hasn’t yet shown any signs of slowing down. Even better, the offense didn’t threaten to waste the outing. They did keep the game tied for the first few innings, but they put a dent in the score in the fourth and never looked back from there.

While Fister’s night was fantastic on the whole, he followed the same pattern he’s been following for much of this absurd run through the second half. The righty got off to a start in which it seemed like this would be the outing where it all falls apart before pulling it all together later in the outing. In this one, control was a bit of an issue early on, but he really got his command going after a couple innings. That led to plenty of strikeouts as he was painting corners with his cutter and curveball and the Blue Jays hitters just had no chance.

As I said, though, the early going was pretty tough. Right away, it looked like the run was finally over for the veteran righty. Fister started things off by allowing a solid single, and after his first strikeout of the game he left a fastball right over the plate to Justin Smoak. Fortunately, it stayed in the yard, bouncing off the wall in center field and missing a home run by just a couple of feet. That put runners on second and third with one down, and that’s when Fister lost his control. He did get another strikeout after the double, but then walked the next two batters he faced and all of a sudden the Blue Jays had a 1-0 lead. He’d come back and get a groundout to end the inning, one that he was fortunate to leave having only allowed the one run.

Things got a little dicey in the second inning for Fister as well. That inning started with a single, and a ground out and wild pitch moved that runner over to third base. Fister came through with a big strikeout and ground out to end the inning, though. From there, it was cruise control. Fister started commanding the edges of the zone and it was all over for Toronto hitters. From the third through the sixth, he allowed just one walk and one hit and neither runner advanced beyond first base. It was domination. In all, he tossed seven innings and only allowed the one run on four hits, three walks while racking up a whopping nine strikeouts.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the offense finally came through with a big game to support their starter. This time, they didn’t waste any time either. After the Blue Jays put the one run on the board in the first, the Red Sox came through in the bottom half of the frame. There, it was all about Eduardo Nuñez’ legs. The infielder started things off with a single, then immediately advanced to second base on a stolen base. He’d then move over to third on an aggressive tag play on a line drive to center field before scoring on a ground out. Just like that, the first inning ended with a 1-1 tie.

After a quick second inning, the Red Sox would once again get Nuñez over to second in the third but ultimately stranded him there. In the fourth, amidst an increasing rainfall, they’d break out. That frame started with a Mitch Moreland walk, and Xander Bogaerts followed that up with a triple into the right field corner to give Boston a 2-1 lead. Rafael Devers kept it going with a single, and after a ground out Jackie Bradley came up with one on and one out. Joe Biagini tossed him a changeup up in the zone and Bradley was all over it, sending it to the bullpen for a two-run home run. That gave the Red Sox a 5-1 lead and they wouldn’t look back from there. With rain still coming down in the sixth, they’d tack on another run in a rally that should have resulted in more if not for weird defense and bad baserunning.

Out of the bullpen, Joe Kelly came on for the eighth and tossed an easy 1-2-3 inning. Matt Barnes did the same in the ninth to end the contest.

So, after a tough first game and the second game looking like a loss for most of it, the Red Sox still managed to take two of three in this series against the Blue Jays. In this run against subpar competition, winning series is the key for Boston. This series victory was uglier than we’d have liked, but a win is a win is a win is a win. The Yankees and Orioles were rained out on Wednesday, so the victory gives Boston just a half-game boost in the division, pushing their lead to an even four games. New York and Baltimore will make up their game on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will have a much needed day off after twenty straight days with a game. They’ll be back in action on Friday against the Rays with Drew Pomeranz on the hill.