Blue Jays complete sweep of Red Sox with 6-3 win on Sunday
Photo credit:© Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack1 year ago
With the Blue Jays, Rays, and Mariners all vying for home field in the AL Wild Card series this weekend, scoreboard watching was big for all three teams, no matter what their players/managers might tell you.
None of what Tampa Bay or Seattle did this weekend even mattered to Toronto, because the Blue Jays handled things on their end as they finished off a sweep of the Boston Red Sox with a 6-3 win this afternoon.
The Blue Jays have now won five straight home finales in Toronto dating all the way back to 2017 when Jose Bautista played his final home game in a Blue Jays uniform.
The Blue Jays got excellent offensive production from Teoscar Hernandez and Whit Merrifield, as the two of them accounted for five of the six runs Toronto scored today.
Unlike the first two games of the series, however, the Blue Jays actually had to play from behind. Bobby Dalbec’s two-run single in the top of the second put Boston ahead 2-0 early. The Red Sox couldn’t enjoy it for long, because Hernandez and Merrifield hit solo home runs in the 2nd and 3rd inning respectively, and the Blue Jays tied the game.
Kevin Gausman, the starter for this afternoon’s game, left the game early after three innings of work due to a cut on his right middle finger. Blue Jays fans collectively exhaled once the diagnosis was revelaed, as flashbacks of Aaron Sanchez blisters impacted the speculation. Taking Gausman out was the right move, as it gave him an opportunity to get treatment for his cut immediately.
John Schneider said after the game that the team isn’t worried that Gausman’s finger issue is serious…
Hernandez laced his second home run down the left field line off the foul netting in the 4th inning, his second home run of the day. Hernandez now owns 25 home runs on the season, and is now in the top-10 in the American League in slugging percentage.
Merrifield added an RBI later in the 4th inning scoring Danny Jansen, as well as scored another run in the 7th inning, as he had a nifty slide into home on a George Springer ground ball to short, with Yu Chang coming home with the throw. In his last ten games, Merrifield is batting .428 with four home runs and four doubles. Those are numbers of the Whit Merrifield of old, as he has certainly established his spot as the starting second baseman for the Blue Jays going into the playoffs.
While some bats are getting hot at the right time, the bullpen is also rounding back into an ideal form. Zach Pop pitched two clean innings after Gausman’s exodus, with Cimber-Bass-Garcia-Romano finishing off the game only allowing one run.
Alongside the win (the 90th of the season for Toronto), fans were treated to a couple web gems today. In the top of the 4th, Pop fielded an Abraham Almonte ground ball in behind-the-back fashion, and then ran the ball over the Vladdy at first. The ball was hit 95.7 mph off the bat, but Pop had his wits about him. Following that, in the top of the 7th, Connor Wong grounded a ball to Bo Bichette at short. The ball deflected off of Bo’s glove directly to Merrifield, who turned and threw Wong out at first. It was scored as a 6-4-3 putout.
The Blue Jays now enter the final series of the season on Monday, as Jose Berrios will start in Baltimore. Dean Kremer is in line to start for the Orioles, who are already eliminated from playoff contention. Surely, Baltimore would love to play spoiler and keep the Blue Jays from clinching home field for the AL Wild Card series, but it would be nice for Toronto to clinch it early on so they aren’t forced to use Alek Manoah in the finale.
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