Red Sox Hold off Blue Jays with Moreland’s Bat and Bullpen
BOSTON (AP) — Mitch Moreland’s crack of the bat in a nearly empty Fenway Park was easily heard. Alex Verdugo’s yell after his homer-saving catch might have been even louder.
Verdugo hit two solo homers over the Green Monster and made a homer-robbing grab, Mitch Moreland hit a two-run shot and Boston’s beleaguered staff rebounded to lift the Red Sox past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night.
Verdugo snagged Travis Shaw’s bid with his leaping grab in the ninth inning, pulling the ball back before it landed in Toronto’s bullpen, and Moreland added a bases-loaded walk to help Boston win its second straight following a four-game losing streak.
“I would say I’ve never screamed like that before,” Verdugo said, smiling. “I used to be a pitcher back in the day. I was pretty hyped up.”
Cavan Biggio hit a solo homer, and Vladimir Guerrero and Bo Bichette each had an RBI double for Toronto, which has dropped five of six.
Moreland’s homer, coming with the crack echoing around Fenway, sailed just over the 380-foot sign at the edge of the Blue Jays’ bullpen in right off starter Tanner Roark (1-1) in the third inning for his fourth homer.
“I just didn’t have it tonight, basically, is what it is,” Roark said. “Just the hand placement out front of pitches was just a hair off.”
Entering the night with the AL’s second-worst ERA (5.28), Boston used six relievers to hold down the Blue Jays. Reliever Heath Hembree (2-0) got three outs for the victory and Brandon Workman the final three for his third save.
“Pretty good. All of them,” Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. “We’re trying to piece together what order it was going to be in.”
Verdugo had given Boston a 2-1 edge when he hit his first Fenway homer with the Red Sox (he had one with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season), an opposite-field shot that bounced off the second row of seats above the Monster and back onto the field. His other came leading off the eighth.
Biggio, inserted in the leadoff spot, homered on the sixth pitch of the game, a drive that barely cleared the Monster.
Making just his second start and first since July 28, Roark walked four batters in the first, the last was Moreland.
Boston starter Ryan Weber was lifted in the fourth for the third time in as many starts, giving up two runs on five hits.
Blue Jays: Manager Charlie Montoyo sounded a lot better about RHP Trent Thornton a day after he was placed on the 10-day injured list.
“I don’t see him missing a lot of time,” he said. “He should miss, at the most, one or two starts and that’s it.”
Red Sox: Roenicke said he’ll likely give starter Martín Pérez an extra day’s rest either before his next start or the one following.
Roenicke said the club continues to educate the players on what’s best on road trips to guard against the coronavirus and with MLB’s new guidelines for those not in the game to wear masks.
“The staff is trying to make sure we’re on top of this more than we have been,” he said. “We’ve talked about it and hopefully we can continue to express our feelings to the players and get them to have a habit.”
THIS TIME YOU’RE IN
Blue Jays RHP Jacob Waguespack got into the game a night after he was brought in but had to walk off before throwing a pitch because he wasn’t on the umpires’ lineup card.
MOVIN’ ON UP?
Roenicke said before the game that he was considering moving Verdugo into the leadoff spot with Andrew Benintendi slumping.
Benintendi entered hitting just .069 (2 for 29). He went 0 for 4 with a walk.
Blue Jays: RHP Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 5.91 ERA) is set to start Saturday, coming off a rough outing when he gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings against Atlanta.
Red Sox: RHP Zack Godley (0-1, 6.14 ERA) is slated to make his second start after he was knocked around for five runs in 3 1/3 innings by the Yankees last Saturday.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports