Blue Jays 3 - Red Sox 2
The Jays avoided a shaky ninth from Romano to hold off the Red Sox and take the series with a 3-2 win.
The main story of the night was clearly Kevin Gausman. Making his second start as a Blue Jay, Gausman mowed through the Red Sox lineup with brutal efficiency, going 8 innings, collecting 8 strikeouts and has yet to issue a walk as a Blue Jay. Gausman twinned excellent control with changing speeds to keep the Red Sox off balance. Establishing his slider early, he was able to set hitters up for the splitter and the high fastball, getting lots of swings and misses.
Both Toronto and Boston decided to rest as many regulars as possible, stocking their lineups from the bench. Temperatures bounced back in Boston and with it, starting pitching. Over first two innings, both Tanner Houck and Kevin Gausman were sharp, generating plenty of swinging strikes and each allowing just one hit - a flare off the hands from Dalbec and a potentially catchable double from Chapman into left field.
Leading off the third, Gosuke Katoh got his first major league at-bat, drawing a full count walk from Houck. He’d later come home after singles from Tapia and Bichette for the first run of the game. Vladdy would sacrifice Tapia home followed by Bichette stealing second before Collins flew out to end the inning.
Both starters would cruise into the 5th. Gausman’s splitter looked like the pitch that allowed him to dominate in San Francisco, generating a ton of swing and miss from the Red Sox and was paired with a good fastball. Chapman flashed a bit of leather in the 5th, snagging a nasty Jackie Bradley Jr liner at the knees for the second out. Vázquez nearly made the game 2-1 with a shot that didn’t quite clear the Green Monster, and is tagged out by a mile with an excellent feed from Tapia in left to catch him at second.
Braiser came in to relieve Houck as the wind picked up at Fenway. He was able to get two outs on either side of a Guerrero double. After a Gurriel walk, Braiser was able to pop Chapman up, but inexplicably, they let Vázquez try and handle it between first and the mound going backwards and failed to cover the plate. The ball dropped in less than a foot from Vázquez but without any coverage, Vladdy was able to score and Gurriel to advance to third, chasing Braiser from the game. The Jays threatened to score more, but Davis came on in relief was able to fool Springer as he came in as the pinch hitter and struck out swinging.
The Jays had another chance in the 7th with singles by Tapia and Bichette, but Guerrero flew out to deep centre field. In the 8th, Gurriel sliced a single into left and Chapman laced a ground ball with eyes that eluded both the third baseman and the shortstop. Gurriel attempted to advance to third on the lack of coverage, but a great tag by Bogaerts just caught him as Chapman moved up. Unfortunately, Sawamura rang up Springer with another strikeout to end the threat.
Gausman came out to start the 9th, but a lead off Trevor Story single into right had Montoyo call for Romano to close out the game. Things got exciting as Romano quickly lost Devers and gave up a double to Bogaerts, giving up the first run of the game. Verdugo hit a ground ball to the right side to drive in Devers and put the tying run on third. Fortunately for Romano, Chapman corralled an absolute rocket from Dalbec to keep Bogaerts at third. Romano ran Bradley up to a full count before getting a ball on the ground that Vladdy was able to beat him to the bag for the final out and Romano’s sixth save this year.
Jay of the Day: Gausman (.396 WPA!), Bichette (.124). I’m also going to give one to Chapman. Anyone else playing third and that turns into a double in the ninth to tie the game.
Suckage Jays: None. Collins (-.083) has the number after a bad day at the plate, but Gausman gave him a lot of credit for calling the game behind the plate.
With the win, the Jays retain sole possession of first in the AL East at 8-5. They travel to Houston to face Springer’s old team, the Astros for the start of a three game series at 8:10EST. Ross Stripling (3.00 ERA) will face Justin Verlander (0.69 ERA) who is coming off a dominant outing against Seattle.