Red Sox beat Blue Jays 2-1 in 8 to earn doubleheader split
Jonathan Araúz singled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat Toronto 2-1 Saturday night to split a doubleheader with the Blue Jays.
Matt Barnes (6-3) worked one inning for the win and Adam Ottavino finished for his eighth save in 12 opportunities as the Red Sox won for the second time in their past 10 games.
Facing right-hander Adam Cimber (2-3), Araúz grounded a leadoff single past shortstop Bo Bichette to score Franchy Cordero, who started the inning on second base.
Toronto won the opener 1-0 when Marcus Semien led off the bottom of the seventh by connecting on the first pitch from Barnes (5-3). It was Semien's 26th home run of the season and the first game-ending homer of his career.
The Blue Jays are 8-2 since returning to Toronto July 30.
Before the opener, Boston put slugger J.D. Martinez on the COVID-19-related injured list. The Red Sox have scored five runs or fewer in 15 consecutive games.
Making his second start for Toronto, right-hander José Berríos allowed one run and five hits in the second game of the doubleheader. He walked none and struck out six.
Berríos had pitched 11 consecutive scoreless innings to begin his Blue Jays career but gave up a one-out homer to Alex Verdugo in the sixth to tie the score at 1-all. The homer was Verdugo's 11th.
A walk and a single gave Boston men at first and second with nobody out against right-hander Trevor Richards in the seventh, but the threat fizzled when both runners were thrown out.
First, Marwin Gonzalez got caught in a rundown between second and third after Franchy Cordero whiffed on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Cordero later struck out as part of a double play, with Christian Vazquez thrown out attempting to steal third.
Toronto's Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a deep drive to center in the bottom of the seventh but Kiké Hernandéz made a leaping catch at the wall.
Right-hander Tanner Houck started for Boston, but left with runners at first and second and two outs in the fourth. Left-hander Josh Taylor came on in relief and gave up an RBI single to Breyvic Valera.
Toronto failed to hit a home run in the night game, snapping a streak of 20 straight games with at least one homer.
Semien's game-winning drive in the opener was the 166th of the season for the Blue Jays, who began the day tied with San Francisco for the MLB lead.
VENABLE TESTS POSITIVE
Boston bench coach Will Venable has tested positive for COVID-19, the team said during the first game. With first base coach Tom Goodwin in quarantine after close exposure to Venable, quality control coach Ramon Vazquez coached first base. Cora and Red Sox coaches wore masks on the field and in the dugout, and some Boston reserves were also masked. "We've got to take care of our group," Cora said. "For now, we'll do our best to wear masks in the dugout and, obviously, inside."
Blue Jays: LHP Tim Mayza (elbow) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Aug. 6, and LHP Ryan Borucki was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. Toronto recalled LHP Kirby Snead and RHP Patrick Murphy from Triple-A. RHP Trent Thornton was the 27th man for the doubleheader.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (elbow surgery) allowed two hits over 4 2/3 scoresless innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester. Sale walked three and struck out eight. Cora said Friday that Saturday's outing could be Sale's final rehab start before rejoining the Red Sox. Sale had Tommy John surgery in March 2020. . Boston recalled C Connor Wong from Triple-A.
Blue Jays LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.22) faces Red Sox RHP Garrett Richards (6-7, 5.21) in Sunday's finale, the last of 19 meetings this season between the AL East rivals. Ryu is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in five career games against Boston.
In Game 1
Marcus Semien hit a walk-off home run to begin the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the skidding Boston Red Sox 1-0 in the opening game of Saturday's doubleheader.
Each team managed only two hits, and Semien got the biggest of all. He connected on the first pitch from Matt Barnes (5-3) for his 26th home run of the season and the first game-ending homer of his career.
"It was amazing," left-hander Robbie Ray said of the celebration that followed Semien's drive. "Everybody was screaming and yelling. It was a fun little experience."
Semien's decisive shot was Toronto's 166th. The Blue Jays began the day tied with San Francisco for the MLB lead.
The Blue Jays have hit at least one home run in 20 consecutive games, the third-longest such streak in team history. Toronto had 22- and 21-game streaks in 2000.
The Blue Jays improved to 8-1 since returning to Toronto July 30.
"It feels like right now that everything is kind of coming together," Ray said. "We're pitching really good, we're hitting, guys are getting on base, we're getting them over and getting them in. We're doing the small things. It's really fun, especially to be able to do it here in Toronto."
The Red Sox have lost eight of nine and have scored five runs or fewer in 14 consecutive games. Before this game, they put slugger J.D. Martinez on the COVID-19-related injured list.
"Overall, we haven't been able to do much," manager Alex Cora said. "It's tough to lose 1-0 but the positive is we pitched better."
The shutout defeat was Boston's fourth.
Starters Nick Pivetta of Boston and Ray dominated.
Kiké Hernández walked to lead off the game against Ray, but the Red Sox didn't get their first hit until Kevin Plawecki's grounded a one-out single through the left side in the fifth. Christian Vazquez followed by grounding into a double play.
Pivetta was perfect through the first four innings before Corey Dickerson lined a two-out single to left.
The Red Sox used a walk and a hit to put runners at the corners with two outs in the sixth, but Xander Bogaerts fouled out to end the threat.
Ray allowed two hits, both singles, in six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.90. He walked two and struck out five.
Jordan Romano (5-1) pitched a perfect seventh to earn the win.
The Canadian-born Pivetta gave up one hit, walked one and struck out five in six shutout innings.
"Nick did an outstanding job," Cora said. "Every pitch mattered. He stepped up to the challenge."