Red Sox

Red Sox complete sweep of Jays, 7-1; extend A.L. East lead to 5 1/2

moreland_red_sox_083017.jpg

Red Sox complete sweep of Jays, 7-1; extend A.L. East lead to 5 1/2

TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox stumbled into Toronto mired in a four-game losing streak.

Thanks to some timely hitting from Mitch Moreland, they left Canada for a showdown in New York against the second-place Yankees riding high after a sweep of the struggling Blue Jays.

Moreland had a pinch-hit homer and drove in four runs, Hanley Ramirez added a solo blast and Boston beat Toronto 7-1 on Wednesday night.

"It's a testament to the guys in our clubhouse," manager John Farrell said of the turnaround after his team was outscored 38-10 over its skid. "They're driven, they're task-oriented, they don't dwell on what's happened previously. We felt like we needed to do that, coming off a tough series where we got swept at home."

Rick Porcello allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings as the AL East-leading Red Sox moved 5 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees, who were swept in a doubleheader by Cleveland. New York and Boston begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

"We definitely have a good feeling, obviously," Porcello said.

Ramirez connected for the second straight game as the Red Sox finished 8-1 in Toronto this season. Boston is 10-3 overall against the Blue Jays with six meetings remaining at Fenway Park in September.

"They're in first place for a reason," Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ said of Boston. "They were tough this series."

Pinch-hitting for Chris Young against right-hander Tom Koehler (1-7), Moreland hit a second deck drive in the seventh, his 18th. It was the third pinch-hit homer of Moreland's career.

Moreland added a two-run single in Boston's four-run, bat-around eighth.

"Insurance runs are huge," Moreland said. "It just helps everybody settle in a little bit more."

Moreland is batting .346 (28 for 81) with 19 RBIs in his past 27 games.

"He's in a good place," Farrell said.

Ramirez also reached the second deck with his homer, a leadoff shot off Happ in the fifth.

"The last couple of nights, he's put some really good swings on some pitches," Farrell said.

The homers helped Porcello (9-15) finish August at 5-1 with an ERA of 4.04.

Toronto's only run came on a homer by Raffy Lopez in the third. The last-place Blue Jays lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

"Obviously it's been real tough," manager John Gibbons said. "We haven't played good enough baseball lately."

CRIME SPREE, PART 1

After Xander Bogaerts bluffed a steal from second in the eighth, Rafael Devers took off from first base, arriving ahead of the throw from catcher Lopez. Bogaerts made it to third when second baseman Rob Refsnyder's throw pulled Darwin Barney off the base. "(Bogaerts) kind of hung Devers out to dry a little bit," Farrell said. "The start and stop kind of puts us in a tough spot. Thankfully we were able to get out of it."

CRIME SPREE, PART 2

Boston went 11 for 11 in stolen base attempts in the series. The Red Sox have 24 steals against Toronto this season, the most by any team against an opponent.

OBSTACLE COURSE

Bogaerts drew a two-out walk in the third and Devers followed with a broken bat grounder to second. As Bogaerts ducked to avoid the jagged flying barrel, he was struck by the batted ball and ruled out.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday. Price had not thrown off a mound since July 22 against the Angels, when he allowed six runs in five innings. ... 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee) ran the bases for a second straight day and remains on track to return during Boston's upcoming series with the Yankees. ... 3B Josh Rutledge had surgery on his left hip Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the season.

Blue Jays: 1B Justin Smoak (sore calf) was held out of the starting lineup, just the second time this season he has not played. ... 3B Josh Donaldson got the day off. ... 2B Devon Travis (right knee) suffered a setback in his rehab, decreasing the likelihood of a return this season. Travis has not played since June 4. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki said he has a "difficult rehab" ahead this winter as he recovers from torn ligaments in his right ankle. Tulowitzki will not return this season.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 4.19) starts Thursday's series opener against the Yankees. Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in eight career starts against New York. LHP CC Sabathia (10-5, 3.82) starts for the Yankees.

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (6-8, 5.04) starts Thursday as Toronto begins a four-game series in Baltimore. Estrada is 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA in three starts against the Orioles. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (8-7, 4.88) starts for Baltimore.

Fiers, Tigers blank Red Sox 5-0

ap_18203001311585.jpg
File Photo

Fiers, Tigers blank Red Sox 5-0

Jose Iglesias homered and drove in four runs, and Mike Fiers pitched impressively into the seventh inning to lead the Detroit Tigers over the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Saturday night.

The major league-leading Red Sox lost for just the second time in 15 games, and their AL East lead over the New York Yankees slipped to 4 1/2 games.

Fiers (7-6) worked his first scoreless outing since his Tigers debut April 8, when he beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0 for Detroit's only other shutout this season. This time, he allowed seven hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six.

Brian Johnson (1-3) gave up two unearned runs and five hits in five innings for Boston. He struck out five.

Detroit took the lead in the second after Victor Martinez reached on an error by third baseman Rafael Devers, playing his first game since being reinstated from the disabled list. Devers fielded Martinez's grounder well behind third and his throw went past first, enabling Martinez to arrive safely.

That miscue proved costly when Iglesias came up with two outs and hit a two-run double, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Fiers threw only two balls through the first two innings, and he allowed three runs or fewer for the ninth time in his last 10 starts. He struck out Xander Bogaerts for the third out of the fifth with runners on first and third.

Boston threatened again in the sixth, but with two on JaCoby Jones was able to run down Jackie Bradley Jr.'s drive at the warning track in left field. In the bottom of the inning, Jeimer Candelario hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0, and Iglesias added a two-run homer.

Fiers exited with runners at the corners in the seventh. Alex Wilson got Bogaerts to ground into a double play, ending the inning.

Boston star Mookie Betts had two hits, raising his big league-leading average to .355. He also made a superb catch in right field in the third, reaching above the wall to catch Leonys Martin's drive.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Devers (left shoulder inflammation) went 1 for 4. ... 2B Brock Holt, who left Friday's game with a bruised knee, was out of the lineup. Manager Alex Cora said he'd like to give Holt the weekend off. ... DH-OF J.D. Martinez had the day off after running into the wall while making a catch Friday. "These guys that make the All-Star Game, they really don't have an All-Star break," Cora said. "He's getting the day off because he ran into the wall, but I think it's a good day off for him anyway."

UP NEXT

Boston ace Chris Sale (10-4) starts the series finale Sunday against Blaine Hardy (3-2). Sale is 5-1 with a 0.94 ERA in his last seven starts.

J.D. Martinez out of lineup, sore after crashing into wall

J.D. Martinez out of lineup, sore after crashing into wall

A night after crashing into the right-field wall making a catch in the third inning of their 1-0 victory in Detroit, J.D. Martinez is out of the Red Sox lineup.

Here's a look at the catch: 

The news of Martinez getting the night off prompted this exchange with reporters, via The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said the "general soreness" won't make him reluctant from using Martinez, second in the majors in homers with 29 and tops in RBI with 80, in the outfield, where he's played 39 games in his first season in Boston, compared to 54 at DH.

Mookie Betts is back in right Saturday, with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Andrew Benintendi in right.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE