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.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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