Red Sox

Pearce go-ahead single in eighth leads Blue Jays over Red Sox, 4-3

Pearce go-ahead single in eighth leads Blue Jays over Red Sox, 4-3

BOSTON -- Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera couldn't believe his eyes when he looked up and saw that he was the winning pitcher - his fifth career victory.

Starter Marcus Stroman was the best pitcher of the game, taking a three-hit shutout into the seventh inning and leaving without allowing an earned run. Dominic Leone relieved him, and was the pitcher of record when Toronto took the lead for good.

But Tepera was awarded the victory by official scorer Bob Ellis, who ruled that Leone didn't deserve it after allowing a game-tying double on the only pitch he threw.

"I thought it was a mistake, but I'll take it," Tepera said, breaking into a laugh after the Blue Jays beat Boston 4-3 on Monday night. "I mean, wins don't really matter as relievers, as long as we win as a team."

Steve Pearce hit a solo homer, then added the go-ahead single in the eighth inning to lead Toronto a victory in the series opener. Stroman shut the Red Sox down for most of the game, but took a no-decision after they scored three unearned runs to tie it in the seventh.

After Andrew Benintendi doubled, Stroman failed to get his foot on the bag when covering first on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s grounder. Christian Vazquez walked to load the bases. Brock Holt's sacrifice fly scored one run, and Mookie Betts singled in another to chase Stroman.

Leone came in, and Dustin Pedroia banged his first and only pitch off the Green Monster. One run scored on the double, and Betts was thrown out at the plate after running through a stop sign from the third base coach.

Tepera (5-1) pitched a perfect eighth. Baseball Rule 9.17 (c) states: "The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead."

"That's the game of baseball for ya," Leone said. "From Marcus' six innings - that's why baseball is crazy. He deserves that win, no matter what. He pitched his butt off. It's crazy with one pitch the game can switch like that, and the whole win-loss thing kind of gets tossed up for grabs, really."

Toronto went back in front in the eighth when Pearce singled to score pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera from third.

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.

Heath Hembree (1-3) took the loss.

MISSING SIGNS

Betts took responsibility for missing the sign from third base coach Brian Butterfield.

"I didn't even see Butter put up the stop sign. That's my fault for not looking up," Betts said. "I was just thinking, `score.'"

FOR STARTERS

Stroman allowed three unearned runs on five hits and three walks, striking out five. Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez, who was activated from the disabled list (right knee) for the game, allowed three runs on six hits and four walks, striking out eight in 5 1/3 innings.

"I thought with the layoff that Eddie had that was a strong five-plus innings of work here tonight," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Home plate umpire Chris Segal remained in the game after getting hit in the head by Josh Donaldson's bat in the first inning. Donaldson, the third batter in the game, swung at a pitch from Rodriguez and lost the handle on his bat. It flew behind him and hit Segal on the top of the head. Segal, who was wearing a mask but no helmet, went back to the ground and remained there until the training staff came running out. After a few minutes, Segal was smiling.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: LHP J.A. Happ (3-6) starts in Game 2 of the series at 7:10 p.m.

Red Sox: Brian Johnson (2-0) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to make the start.

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

Drellich: These Red Sox can do no wrong

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- We’re not firing on all cylinders yet. The scary thing is, we’re not even playing our best. Just wait until we really get going.

You’ve heard these phrases and their variants before. They’re typically worthless.

RED SOX 9, ANGELS 0

Someone is always performing poorly. Always. That’s life in a sport where the best teams lose 40 percent of the time, where the best hitters fail 7 times out of 10, and all the other cliches.

What may be most remarkable about the Red Sox’ 15-2 run is that for an extended time, we are seeing a baseball team actually bump up against its ceiling. They have four grand slams. There are two major- league teams that have only three wins.

They are actually playing their best.

“It’s very rare,” Alex Cora said Wednesday night, after becoming the first rookie manager in history to begin his career with 15 wins in 17 games. “There’s always something that is not going with the others. But right now, defense pitching and offense -- base running too. You know, we were aggressive today  [when Eduardo Nunez was thrown out trying to stretch a double] but we’ll take that one. We’re doing better. We’re doing a lot better. And I don’t know, man. It’s just, it’s just fun to watch.

“I know how good they are. But it’s just something about them, they make you feel confident. You show up every day to work, I enjoy it, I’m having a blast with them. Not only in the dugout, but in the clubhouse. It’s fun. It’s fun to be around them. It’s a good group, and we’re growing together, we’re learning together and you know, we’re going to keep getting better."

“All systems go” rarely has more validity as a description for a baseball team than it does the Red Sox at present.

MORE DRELLICH

“I’ve been fortunate to be on some good teams and I’m sure I have [had similar stretches], but not, I don’t think, to this extent, where we’re playing good defense, we’re throwing the ball so well,” said Mitch Moreland, who homered Wednesday night in a 9-0 win over the Angels. “We’re coming up with big hits. Everybody in the clubhouse has done something to help the team win. It might just be because it’s fresh on my mind, but it stands out as good a ball as I think I’ve been a part of in the big leagues.”

Imagine how good a team can be if everyone is healthy and performing well. (By the way, the Sox are missing Xander Bogaerts.) But the best 17-game start in the 118-year history of a franchise has been inclusive of virtually everyone. Even Blake Swihart is getting some at-bats in these blowouts. 

Perhaps the bullpen feels a little left out lately, because the Sox are romping. These are thoroughly dominating performances, led by starting pitching. Rick Porcello -- who we may now more often mention won a Cy Young award two years ago -- has one walk in four starts. He’s 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA.

Rafael Devers, meanwhile, is the youngest Sox player to hit a grand slam since Tony Conigliaro in 1965.

Things will change. They’ll get ugly at some point. For now, though, there’s no waiting to see what a team looks like when everything is actually working. 

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Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

Red Sox continue rolling with 9-0 rout of Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Everything is going right for the Boston Red Sox, and it has propelled them to the best start in the franchise's long history.

Rafael Devers hit his first career grand slam, Rick Porcello threw six scoreless innings and the Red Sox improved to 15-1 since losing on opening day with a 9-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Mitch Moreland had four RBI, including a two-run homer in the ninth, and J.D Martinez hit a solo shot in the seventh to help the Red Sox to their sixth consecutive win.

The Red Sox are the fifth team since the American League was established in 1901 to post at least 14 wins in their first 17 games.

"We've had a pretty good run at it here, pretty much the whole season so far," Moreland said. "It seems like one through nine, everybody is kind of stepping up. Obviously, been throwing the ball really well on the mound. Just playing a real complete game, a clean game right now."

Devers hit a home run for the second game in a row, putting his third of the season off the wall in right field just over the yellow line to make it 6-0 after Moreland singled to score Mookie Betts.

After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Porcello (4-0) cruised to his league-leading fourth win. He gave up six hits and struck out six without issuing a walk.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first. Hanley Ramirez doubled to center, with the ball landing just past a leaping Mike Trout, and Moreland drove him in with a single to right.

"Our offense is really setting the tone right now and doing an incredible job. I mean, they are doing a great job of getting on their starter early," Porcello said. "The runs they are putting up, we're just going out there and attacking the strike zone and get outs and chew up as much of the game as possible."

Tyler Skaggs (2-1) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels, who have lost two straight following a seven-game winning streak.

The Angels have been outscored 19-1 through the first two games of the series.

"You're going to run into some waves like this where it just doesn't seem like you're putting things together, but we're a much better offensive team than in the last couple of years," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts (ankle) took ground balls during batting practice, but manager Alex Cora said "there's no rush" to bring him back. . RHP Steven Wright (knee) will start at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. . LHP Bobby Poyner (hamstring) will be sent out on a rehab assignment soon, with weather likely determining where he will go.

Angels: Shohei Ohtani is expected to make his next start after being limited to two innings Tuesday because of a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Ohtani will be available to hit against the Red Sox on Thursday. . RHP JC Ramirez underwent surgery to repair a torn UCL on Tuesday.

CALIFORNIA SUN

The Red Sox have not been good in the Pacific Time Zone, posting a .438 win percentage (89-114) when playing on the West Coast over the previous 16 seasons. After not winning a series at the Angels, Oakland or Seattle last season, they already have one under their belt.

AT HOME ON THE ROAD

Devers extended his road hitting streak to 12 games dating back to Sept. 18, 2017, and it was his fourth homer in that span. He has a hit in 19 of his last 21 road games going back to last season.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 3.72) gave up one run in six innings against Baltimore on Friday. Rodriguez's only career start at Angel Stadium was a brief one, giving up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings in 2015.

Angels: RHP Nick Tropeano (1-0, 0.00) held Kansas City scoreless in 6 2/3 innings to get the win Thursday. Tropeano has never faced the Red Sox.

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