The Red Sox were the road team at home Friday night, adding to the weirdness of 2020. The weirdest part of the night, though, was that the Red Sox got the win. It wasn’t an explosive night on either side, but Boston squeaked by with the 3-2 win. They got a very solid start from Chris Mazza and just enough at the plate from the offense. That effort was led, for the second time today, by Yairo Muñoz, who picked up his second three-hit game of the doubleheader. The win pushed the Red Sox record to 13-27.
Friday night was literally unlike any game we’ve ever seen at Fenway, and that has nothing to do with what actually happened in the game action. As the second game in this doubleheader, making up a game that was supposed to be played in Buffalo, the Red Sox were the away team at their home park for the first time ever. It took a little getting used to, but we got there.
And once we got over the utter weirdness that this game represented, there was indeed a game to be played with Chris Mazza taking on Ross Stripling. And the Red Sox were really looking for a good start from their righty after the pitching cost them in the afternoon contest on Friday. They got what they were looking for from Mazza. It wasn’t perfection, but he got the job done. Mazza tossed a 1-2-3 first, worked around a pair of baserunners for a scoreless second, and got a double play in the third for his second three-batter frame of the outing.
On the other side, the Red Sox were facing off against a righty in Stripling who had been brutal for the Dodgers to start the season but was looking to flip to a new chapter with his first start in a Blue Jays uniform. Boston wanted to make sure that didn’t happen. They went down in order in the first, but in the second they got the start they were looking for with a Christian Vázquez base hit. A couple batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. had a single of his own. Eventually, Tzu-Wei Lin stepped to the plate with two on and two out, and he came through. Lin smoked one out to center field that got over the glove of Randal Grichuk and fell into the triangle. The good news is it did give Boston a 1-0 lead. The bad news is the Red Sox caught a bad break when it hopped up into the seats for a ground-rule double, as it would have easily been a two-run double.
Instead, it was just a 1-0 lead as we headed into the top of the third, but the Red Sox were ready to add more on. It was their afternoon MVP Yairo Muñoz getting this rally started with a one-out single, and after a fielder’s choice and a walk there were two on with two out for a struggling Michael Chavis. He did get himself a couple of hits in the afternoon game, though, and he continued that momentum here with a base hit into center field to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
From here we fast-forward to the bottom half of the fourth with the score still 2-0 Boston and Mazza coming back out to the mound. Leading off for Toronto was Rowdy Tellez, who of course goes out of his mind any time he faces Red Sox pitching. That remained the case here when he took a 3-1 cutter that stayed up in the zone over the middle of the plate and just barely snuck it over the Monster (hey that’s the name of this website!) for a solo homer, cutting Boston’s lead down to one. To Mazza’s credit, he came back with two strikeouts and a ground out to keep the narrow lead in hand.
The Red Sox offense were then looking to answer back in the fifth, and wouldn’t you know Muñoz was at the heart of it again, smacking a one-out double that was followed by a walk to put a pair on as the Jays went into their bullpen. Sean Reid-Foley came on and walked the first batter he saw, loading the bases for Chavis. He wouldn’t even have to do anything, though, as Reese McGuire inexplicably tried for a back-pick at second base and threw it into center field, allowing Muñoz to come home and make it a 3-1 game. After Chavis struck out and the Jays intentionally walked Jackie Bradley Jr., it was up to Bobby Dalbec to extend the lead. Instead, he hit a grounder back to the mound and the Red Sox settled for the two-run lead.
With the game entering the bottom of the fifth, Josh Taylor came in out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. The southpaw got the job done with an easy 1-2-3 inning. The sixth then belonged to Robinson Leyer. He got off to a nice start with a strikeout, but then he served up a double and issued a walk, putting two on with just one out. He came back with a huge strikeout against Teoscar Hernández, leaving it up to Jonathan Villar. He came through, sneaking a base hit through the middle to bring the Jays back to within one. Leyer issued another walk after that to load the bases right back with up two outs, bringing Derek Fisher to the plate. Leyer won the battle, striking out Fisher and escaping the inning with the lead in hand.
The lineup failed to provide any insurance in the seventh, bringing on Matt Barnes for the bottom of the inning trying to prevent a walk off in their own park. Things didn’t start out well, with Travis Shaw reaching on an infield single. Barnes came back with a huge ground ball after that, though, with Devers starting a huge 5-4-3 double play. Barnes then got Biggio swinging, giving the Red Sox a split in their doubleheader.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays continue their series on Saturday for a normal nine-inning game. First pitch is set for 7:30 PM ET and neither side has announced their starter.