Red Sox 8 Blue Jays 7
There was an amazing atmosphere in the Rogers Centre tonight, headlined by a new dirt infield that played much faster than the old turf. Although Darwin Barney was in the field at third base, Josh Donaldson was healthy enough for "DH duty" and had his name in the lineup. We also had the voice of Dan Shulman calling the game, a welcoming addition to the broadcast booth.
Marcus Stroman got off to a fantastic start, striking out both Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia to begin the ballgame. Xander Bogaerts would hit a weak groundball to first, and the Red Sox's half inning was finished before it got started.
It was Kevin Pillar who stepped up to lead off the game for the Blue Jays. He managed to get things started with a bang, lining a ball into the gap in right, and sprinting around the bases for a triple. The Rogers Centre was rocking, and a sacrifice fly would soon give the Jays an early lead. 1-0 Blue Jays After One
Stroman was back to work in the second, wasting no time striking out David Ortiz to begin the inning. Defensive hero Kevin Pillar soon gunned out Hanley Ramirez trying to stretch a single into a double, and the Jays had two quick outs yet again. However, back-to-back doubles from Travis Shaw and Brock Holt suddenly tied the game at 1. Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 1- Middle of the 2nd
Joe Kelly made quick work of Russell Martin and Ryan Goins to begin the bottom half of the second. Darwin Barney tried to start a two-out rally with an infield single, but a nice play by Shaw soon ended the inning. Stroman also made quick work of the next two batters he faced, before giving up a two-out single to Bogaerts. Once again, the Red Sox cashed in a run with a two-out rally, as David Ortiz lined a double to deep centre and scored Bogaerts all the way from first. Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1- Middle of the 3rd
After exchanging a set of zero's, Michael Saunders lined a single to right to begin the bottom of the 4th. A line drive off of the pitcher soon gave Russell Martin an infield single, then Ryan Goins also stroked a single load the bases. Joe Kelly fell behind Darwin Barney, who took advantage and joined the singles parade to tie the game at 2-2. Up stepped Kevin Pillar, who spoiled a couple of two strike pitches, before one got away from Joe Kelly and hit Pillar on the beak of his helmet. Just like that, the Jays suddenly held a 3-2 lead with the bases loaded, no one out, and the reigning American League MVP due up next.
Then it happened. The Bringer of Rain absolutely demolished a baseball into the bleachers in left to ignite the hometown crowd with a grand slam. Donaldson earned himself a bounty of MVP chants, while simultaneously giving the Blue Jays a healthy lead. That would be the end of Joe Kelly's night, as the Jays got to the Red Sox bullpen early in this first game of the series. Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 2- Through 4 Innings
Hang ‘em and #PapaSlam ‘em: https://t.co/UKbeB6Khvjhttps://t.co/1nnvIZrGaA— MLB (@MLB) April 9, 2016
The two teams would exchange zeros several times, so we will fast forward to the top of the sixth. Boston got a rally going quickly, after Bogaerts doubled and Ortiz walked to begin the frame. Stroman managed to get Ramirez to groundout to third, but a one-out walk to Travis Shaw would load the bases and end Marcus' night.
Right-hander Jesse Chavez entered the game to face Brock Holt, and swiftly proceeded to give up the grand slam. It probably wasn't the best decision John Gibbons has ever made. 7-6 Blue Jays- Middle of the 6th
For the second straight inning, the Blue Jays could not muster up a hit, and the Red Sox were back up to the plate in short order. Drew Storen entered the game and got the leadoff hitter to fly out, but soon surrendered back-to-back singles to Pedroia and Bogaerts. Brett Cecil took over with two-on and one-out, but promptly gave up the lead by giving up a RBI single to Ortiz. Ramirez would follow with another RBI single, and all-of-the-sudden the Red Sox were given the lead. 8-7 Red Sox- Middle of the 7th
Junichi Tazawa pitched the bottom of the 7th for the Red Sox and retired Saunders, Martin, and Goins without any trouble. Gavin Floyd returned the favour in the top of the 8th, sending Koji Uehara to the mound for the bottom half. Justin Smoak came in to pinch hit for Darwin Barney and was able to get the inning started with a leadoff walk. With Ezequiel Carrera pinch running, Pillar laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the base runner to 2nd. This brought up Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista with a runner in scoring position, but back-to-back groundouts got Uehara out of the inning. After Joe Biagini retired the Red Sox in order in the top of the 9th, it was up to Craig Kimbrel to save the game for the Red Sox. 8-7 Red Sox- Middle of the 9th
Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, and Michael Saunders were due up for the Jays to begin the 9th. Encarnacion started things off by skying the 3-1 pitch for an easy fly out to right. Tulo would strike out, then Saunders quickly flied out to end the game. A real tough loss for the Jays, as the team blew such a commanding lead. Jays of the day go to Darwin Barney (.122), Kevin Pillar (.103), and Josh Donaldson for the grand slam. Suckage goes to Jesse Chavez (-.153), Brett Cecil (-.263), Jose Bautista (-.124), and we'll give one to Drew Storen (-.075) as well.
Final Score: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 7