Verdugo’s home run in the 9th gives the Red Sox a 5-4 win and a sweep of the Blue Jays
Alex Verdugo hit a tiebreaking home run in the ninth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
Jarren Duran went 5 for 5 with four doubles and Rafael Devers reached base five times and drove in two as the Red Sox recorded their fourth sweep.
Verdugo’s sixth home run came on the first pitch thrown by Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano (3-4).
“That one felt good,” Verdugo said.
Verdugo stood at home plate to admire his 415-foot drive into the stands behind the visitor’s bullpen in right field, flipping his bat away before rounding the bases.
“I looked at the ball but I instantly looked back at Dugie (Verdugo) because I knew he was going to do something cool,” Duran said. "He’s a great player and he’s always coming up clutch for us like that.”
Verdugo also led off the ninth inning with a home run against Romano in Boston’s 6-5 win at Fenway Park on May 1. That victory snapped a nine-game losing streak against Toronto.
Boston has won three straight following a season-long five-game losing streak. The Red Sox are 7-0 against Toronto this season after losing 16 of 19 meetings in 2022. Boston last won seven straight over Toronto in 1999.
“The way we played this weekend was fun to watch,” manager Alex Cora said. “Hopefully it’s a lesson to everybody here in this group that if we play that way against everybody, we’ve got a chance.”
Red Sox right-hander Chris Martin (2-1) worked one inning for the win and left-hander Joe Jacques finished for his first career save.
“They’ve never seen him,” Cora said. ”It’s a different angle, too. It’s a tough one. He did an amazing job.”
Blue Jays designated hitter Brandon Belt hit two solo home runs and Bo Bichette added a two-run single. Toronto led 4-2 through six innings but couldn’t make it stand up. The Blue Jays were swept for the fourth time.
“They’ve out-hit us every game,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “It’s always at the top of the order, whether it’s Duran or Devers.”
Boston right-hander Garrett Whitlock left after one inning because of tightness in his right elbow.
“I saw him moving his wrist and elbow,” Cora said. “I didn’t like that. We’ve got to be smart about this.”
Whitlock missed 27 games earlier this season because of right elbow ulnar neuritis.
“It doesn’t really feel very nervy so it’s not really like that,” said Whitlock, who is expected to undergo an MRI Monday.
Whitlock also missed 10 games at the start of the season while recovering from right hip surgery. He’s 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 starts.
Left-hander Brennan Bernardino took over in the second and pitched 1 1/3 innings.
Belt tied the score at 1-1 when he homered off Whitlock in the first, then made it 4-2 with a drive off Nick Pivetta in the sixth. It was Belt’s first multihomer game of the season and the ninth of his career.
Devers opened the scoring with a base hit off Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman in the first and made it 2-1 with another two-out RBI single in the third. Bichette put Toronto in front with a two-run single off Kaleb Ort in the bottom half.
Bichette was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double as the right fielder Verdugo picked up his team-leading seventh assist.
“That was huge for us,” Cora said.
Verdugo threw Bichette out at home plate to end Saturday’s 7-6 Boston win.
Boston tied it with two runs against Erik Swanson in the seventh. Justin Turner hit an RBI single and was running from first base when Verdugo hit a ground ball to the right side. Turner tried for third and scored when Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s wild throw ended up in foul territory.
Gausman allowed two runs and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Gausman leads the AL with 146 strikeouts.
Red Sox: Masataka Yoshida was held out of the lineup after being hit on the right leg by a pitch in the seventh inning Saturday. Cora said Yoshida should be able to return Tuesday. Boston is off Monday.
Guerrero jokingly waited in line behind Gausman to have third base umpire Alex Tosi check his hands and cap as Toronto came off the field after the top of the second.
Of Belt’s six home runs this season, four have tied the score or given Toronto a lead.
Red Sox: Boston had not named a starter for Tuesday afternoon’s July 4th game against Texas, the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Blue Jays: RHP Chris Bassitt starts Tuesday as Toronto visits Chicago for a three-game series against the White Sox. RHP Lucas Giolito (6-5, 3.53) starts for Chicago.