In an AL East that is currently clogged by the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays, and now the competitive Baltimore Orioles, it feels good to have a team in the division to beat down on. The Blue Jays have found the Boston Red Sox to be this team, especially when it comes to playing at Fenway Park. An 8-run third inning set the tone for the series as Toronto blew out Boston 9-3 in the first of a three game set on Tuesday night.
Boston struck first as they took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning off of Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling; Kike Hernandez’ RBI single would cash in a lead off double from Christian Arroyo. However, from there, Stripling would not allow much more trouble, as he added another quality start to a fabulous season. In all, Stripling would go six innings, giving up six hits, one run, one walk, and striking out six. It was only Stripling’s second start since coming off of the injured list, and maybe reaching 86 pitches tonight helps him feel stretched out for longer outings in the near future.
The big story of the night was the top of the 3rd inning, in which the Blue Jays scored eight runs, all coming two outs. Maybe even more encouraging was that they didn’t hit a home run, scoring all runs by way of a single, double, triple, and a bases-loaded walk.
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Lourdes Gurriel Jr. kickstarted the runs with an RBI double, scoring Jackie Bradley Jr. Teoscar Hernandez would single Gurriel Jr. in, and Matt Chapman would walk in a run as the bases were loaded two batters later. Cavan Biggio hit a 2-run single to keep the line moving, and George Springer would cap off the inning with a 3-run triple.
The 3rd inning tonight gave us shades of the 28-5 beatdown that the Jays laid on Boston back on July 22nd, but fortunately for the Red Sox, it never got that bad. I think we can all attribute that to Raimel Tapia sitting this game out.
Bradley Jr. would add an RBI single in the 7th, part of his 2-for-3 night with an RBI and a walk in his return to Fenway Park. It is the first time that Bradley Jr. was a visitor in the ballpark he called home for nine seasons, and he received a nice tribute in between the 1st and 2nd innings.
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After tonight’s game Toronto is 6-1 at Fenway Park this season, including scoring 8.4 runs per game in those contests.
A 9-1 lead would give way to another opportunity for Yusei Kikuchi. Unfortunately, Kikuchi immediately walked the first two batters he faced, throwing eight consecutive balls outside the zone. He would end up allowing a run on a double-play ball that turned into a fielder’s choice plus an error, but he could never make it out of the 7th.
John Schneider turned to David Phelps to not only complete the 7th, but the 8th and two outs of the 9th as well. The goal was probably not to use too many relievers in a blowout game like this, but since Boston plated a run off of Phelps in the 9th, and he had reached 33 pitches, Schneider had Trevor Richards record the final out.
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Toronto will look to win the second game of this series tomorrow night, as they send Jose Berrios to the mound. Berrios is looking to replicate his last start, which was a very composed 6 and 2/3 inning win in New York against the Yankees. ESPN currently lists Rich Hill as the starter for Boston, but there was some talk on the broadcast about Kutter Crawford potentially getting that start.

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