TORONTO — An eighth-inning, three-run homer from George Springer provided the Blue Jays with the perfect ending to their triumphant 10-day, 11-game Rogers Centre return.
The Blue Jays fell behind by as many as five runs on Sunday, but Springer’s blast to the second deck in left field pushed his team to a 9-8 victory and three wins in the four-game series.
Toronto finished with a 9-2 mark in its first tour of duty on home turf in 22 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To pluck nine victories in the Rogers Centre run was noteworthy because the Blue Jays went a middling 10-11 in home games in Dunedin, Fla. and 12-11 in Buffalo.
It only was the seventh time in 40 games the Blue Jays rallied to win after trailing after seven innings.
At the all-star break, the Blue Jays (60-50) were eight games behind the Red Sox (65-49). But now Toronto has pulled to within four games of its division rivals.
Toronto slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. smashed his 35th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth inning to pull his team to within 7-4. But the Red Sox managed another run in the sixth inning on an RBI single from first baseman Bobby Dalbec. Boston wound up with 16 hits to Toronto’s 10 for the afternoon.
Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu (11-6) hoped to snatch a league-leading 12th win before a crowd of 14,766. But after a one-two-three first inning, the South Korean lefty struggled.
The Blue Jays gave Ryu a 1-0 lead in their half of the first inning with a Corey Dickerson two-out RBI single to right field.
The Red Sox sent eight batters to the plate in the second inning, scoring three times. The first four reached safely. J.D. Martinez doubled home Rafael Devers, and catcher Kevin Plawecki knocked in Martinez with a single to left field. Kike Hernandez singled to right to bring in Plawecki.
After the teams traded runs in the third inning for a 4-2 Boston advantage, the Red Sox busted out for three more runs in the fourth. Again, they sent eight hitters to the plate.
The big blow was a two-run single from Martinez. The Red Sox designated hitter, who missed Saturday’s doubleheader after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list, enjoyed a four-hit game. He and Plawecki each had three RBI.
Ryu was knocked out of the game in the fourth inning after a two-out walk to Devers to load the bases. Toronto reliever Patrick Murphy then surrendered the Martinez hit.
Ryu allowed 10 hits and seven runs in his 3.2 innings.
The Blue Jays scored two more runs in the seventh inning on a Marcus Semien sacrifice fly and a Teoscar Hernandez RBI single to centre field.