The Red Sox were coming off a very bad weekend in London and wanted to recover from that ahead of next week’s All-Star break. To do that they would have to perform against a bad team, and that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday. The offense stole the show early and put up an early lead that was more than enough for David Price and the Red Sox bullpen. The offense was a well-rounded attack in this game, but Rafael Devers was the star. He knocked out two homers and had four hits overall. Trevor Kelley did make things closer in a rough major-league debut, but a win is a win.
The Red Sox came into Tuesday’s game in Toronto needing a strong performance to try and get the bad taste from London out of their mouth. (That wasn’t a shot at British food, I promise.) (But it could have been.) Now, their poor play against the Yankees was hardly about the offense, as they were red-hot in that series but just didn’t get the pitching they needed to take advantage of the hot bats. Still, the Red Sox were looking to set a tone in this series and early offense is a good way to do just that.
That’s exactly what Boston did in this game, going up against Trent Thornton. Toronto’s rookie has been up and down all year, but the Red Sox had struggled the last time they saw him. In this game, they were aggressive early in counts and were smashing any hittable pitches they were getting. The top of the order wasted no time getting on the board, either. After Mookie Betts led off the game with a base hit, Rafael Devers swung at a first-pitch fastball and absolutely demolished it out to center field for a 419-foot two-run homer. Two batters into the game, it was 2-0 Boston.
Xander Bogaerts then followed that up with a double on which he should have been thrown out at second but Cavan Biggio couldn’t pick a one-hopped throw to the bag. It seemed Bogaerts would be stranded there, but then with two outs Christian Vázquez knocked in the team’s third run with a double of his own. Jackie Bradley Jr. kept it going with with a base hit, and the Red Sox were able to jump out to a 4-0 lead after the top of the first.
They kept the good times rolling in the second, too. Betts started this rally again with a one-out single, and after stealing second he moved over to third on a base hit from Devers. Bogaerts then hit a weak ground ball that resulted in just one out at second base and Betts would come in to score to make it 5-0 Red Sox.
In the third, Vázquez got things going right away with a leadoff single, and Bradley followed it up with his second hit of the game in the form of a double. That put a pair in scoring position, but after a strikeout and a pop out it looked like the Red Sox might squander the chance. Instead, Betts drew a walk to load the bases and Devers came through yet again. He smacked his third hit of the game, this time a two-run single and the Red Sox had seven runs after just three trips to the plate. The offense did slow down a bit after that with Sean Reid-Foley — who was scheduled to start on Wednesday — taking over for Thornton in that third inning, but the damage was done.
On the other end, David Price gave Boston their first strong pitching performance in what seems like forever. The southpaw wasn’t perfect in this game and he did experience some rare control issues, but the bar is set very low right now. Even if it wasn’t, all in all it was a good outing by any standards. He got off to a strong start, too, not letting Toronto get back in it after his offense’s four-run start to the game.
In the second, however, Price got into some trouble and looked very un-Price like throughout the frame. He got a quick first out there, but then Biggio came up and ripped a ball into the left field corner for a one-out double. After getting the second out of the inning, things started getting away from the Red Sox starter. He walked Brandon Drury then gave up a ground-rule double to Danny Jansen, handing Toronto their first run of the game. He then issued his second walk of the day, loading the bases for Vladimir Guerrero. At the time, he was the tying run, but Price eventually got him to hit a routine fly ball out to center field to end the inning and leave the bags full. It was a long inning for Price, but ultimately it was just one run on the board for the Jays.
After that, the veteran came back strong. Price got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third, then followed it up with another perfect frame in the fourth and yet another in the fifth. With his team still up 7-1, he did get into some more trouble again in the sixth. That inning started with Price’s fourth walk of the evening, the first time he’s done that since April 28 of last year. A couple of batters later he gave up a single to Justin Smoak. It appeared he then got an inning-ending double play ball after that, but Brock Holt botched the play, getting one out at first but allowing the runners to move up to second and third. Freddy Galvis then came through with a ground ball up the middle. Bogaerts did save one run on a diving stop, but he couldn’t get the out and the Blue Jays got their second tally on the board. Price came back with a strikeout, though, and ended his night on a high note. Overall, he tossed six strong innings in which he allowed the two runs on four hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.
After Vázquez added another run for the Sox with a demolished solo homer in the seventh, Colten Brewer came on in the bottom of the inning. He did not get off to a good start, giving up a leadoff homer to Jansen to make it 8-3. He’d recover after that to get out of the inning without any more runs scoring.
The Red Sox added two more on Devers’ second home run of the night, and then it was Josh Taylor for the eighth. The lefty gave up a hit but still only faced three in a scoreless inning. The ninth belonged to Trevor Kelley for the sidearmer’s major-league debut. Things did not go well. The righty got a quick first out, but then he gave up a single and a walk to put two on for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Toronto’s rookie then ripped a double out to left field, scoring two and cutting Boston’s lead to five. Guerrero then moved up to third on a wild pitch before coming in to score on a sacrifice fly. That was all they’d get, though, as Kelley struck out Justin Smoak and finished off the victory.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will be back in action on Wednesday. Boston will send Chris Sale to the mound. As mentioned above, Toronto was planning on starting Reid-Foley, but with him pitching today it’s unclear who will start that one instead. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM ET.