TORONTO — Bo Bichette hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the eighth inning to power the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night at Rogers Centre.
The Toronto shortstop turned on a 1-0 pitch from reliever Tyler Danish for his second homer of the season. Santiago Espinal, Bradley Zimmer and George Springer had reached on one-out singles before Bichette’s first career grand slam.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Matt Chapman hit solo homers and starter Jose Berrios worked seven-plus innings for the Blue Jays (11-6), who have won five of their last six games.
Toronto outhit Boston 10-7. The Red Sox (7-10) have dropped five of their last six games.
Berrios made a nice defensive play to escape a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the second inning. He snagged a comebacker from Christian Arroyo and threw home to start a 1-2-3 double play.
Springer also flashed some defensive skills with a highlight-reel catch to rob Kevin Plawecki of extra bases in the fifth inning. The Toronto centre-fielder chased down the line drive and made a diving grab just before the warning track.
Gurriel led off the bottom half of the frame with his second homer of the year. The line shot barely cleared the fence before landing in the Toronto bullpen.
Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi had retired 11 straight batters before Gurriel turned on the 0-2 slider.
Chapman’s solo shot, his third homer of the season, came on a 1-2 cutter in the seventh inning.
Berrios was pulled for sidearmer Adam Cimber (4-0) after giving up back-to-back singles in the eighth. Plawecki advanced the runners with a bunt and Kike Hernandez drove in Bobby Dalbec with a single.
Arroyo tied the game when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Verdugo.
Berrios and Eovaldi had similar lines. Berrios allowed two earned runs, five hits and a walk while striking out four. Eovaldi also gave up two earned runs and five hits but didn’t issue a walk and had five strikeouts.
Matt Strahm (1-1) shouldered the loss. Julian Merryweather worked the ninth inning for the Blue Jays.
The game took two hours 16 minutes to play.
The Blue Jays placed infielder Cavan Biggio on the COVID-related injured list before the game. Right-hander Bowden Francis was recalled from triple-A Buffalo.
The Red Sox placed right-handers Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford on the restricted list and added right-handers Tyler Danish and John Schreiber to the active roster.
Entering Monday’s games, the Blue Jays led the major leagues with 22 homers this season. Eleven different Toronto players have gone deep this season, also tops in the big leagues.
The opener of the Blue Jays’ 10-game homestand drew a season-low crowd of 20,981 at Rogers Centre.
The previous season-low for home attendance was 27,490 for an April 17 game against Oakland. The Blue Jays’ road low is 25,068 for an April 12 game against the New York Yankees.
JD AS DH
Boston slugger J.D. Martinez returned to the lineup Monday night after missing four games due to left adductor tightness.
He served as the designated hitter and batted fifth in the order.
Victoria native Nick Pivetta is scheduled to start for Boston on Tuesday night against fellow right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Pivetta’s lone appearance at Rogers Centre as a member of the Red Sox came last August when he allowed one hit over six scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2022.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press