Toronto Blue Jays

Red Sox sweep Blue Jays, move closer to A.L. East crown

Red Sox sweep Blue Jays, move closer to A.L. East crown

BOSTON -- Thanks to a miscue by Toronto, the Boston Red Sox moved one step closer to clinching the AL East title.

J.D. Martinez hit his 41st home run and the Red Sox scored the tiebreaking run on an eighth-inning error, completing a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays with a 4-3 victory Thursday night.

After the Blue Jays rallied for two runs to tie it at 3 in the top of the eighth, Xander Bogaerts doubled in the bottom half and stole third. He came home when Toronto second baseman Yangervis Solarte dropped a popup in shallow right field.

"That was a huge situation," Bogaerts said. "I've made errors to make us lose, so I definitely know how he feels. But it's good we're on the good side."

Rafael Devers also went deep for the major league-leading Red Sox (101-46), who pulled 10 1/2 games ahead of the idle New York Yankees and decreased their magic number to six for securing a third straight division crown.

Boston is the only team in the majors that's already locked up a playoff berth.

Brandon Workman (5-0) faced one batter, ending Toronto's eighth-inning rally with just three pitches, and got the win. Craig Kimbrel earned his 40th save.

Danny Barnes (3-3) took the loss for the Blue Jays, who were down 3-1 entering the eighth.

"We clawed back into it after the bullpen did a nice job," manager John Gibbons said.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered in the eighth for Toronto and the Blue Jays added another run after Justin Smoak walked with two outs and Kendrys Morales followed with a single. Joe Kelly hit Randal Grichuk with a pitch to load the bases, then plunked Kevin Pillar to force in the tying run.

"He knows that tonight wasn't a great night for him," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said about Kelly.

Devers hit a solo homer with two outs in the sixth off Mark Leiter Jr., putting Boston up 3-1.

Martinez went deep in the second, tying Oakland's Khris Davis for the major league lead in homers.

Sam Gaviglio pitched 3 1/3 innings for Toronto, allowing two earned runs and six hits.

ON THE RUN

Bogaerts said he wanted to be aggressive after his double in the eighth and he got a great jump as Barnes was pitching to Blake Swihart.

"I was just trying to get to third and make things a little bit easier," Bogaerts said. "Trying to get a guy home from third with one out is better than trying to get a guy in from second."

Bogaerts was halfway down the third-base line and had a clear view as Solarte tried to get under the ball before it bounced off his glove.

"You have to make that play. It's not always easy when the infield is in," Gibbons said.

SOLID START

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez recovered from a rough outing in a 6-3 loss to Houston last Friday, when the Astros tagged him for five runs and six hits over 3 1/3 innings.

Rodriguez struck out seven in six innings this time, retiring the last nine batters he faced. He struck out two in the sixth before the Red Sox turned it over to their bullpen in the seventh. He allowed one run on five hits and didn't walk a batter.

It was only his third start since coming off an extended stint on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.

Cora said he wasn't about to push Rodriguez.

"It was more about taking care of him," the manager explained. "I felt that six was good. The way he threw the ball in the sixth inning was good enough for me."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 3B Eduardo Nunez left in the fourth with soreness in his right knee after hitting a leadoff double. Nunez, who tripped and stumbled over first base while running out a fielder's choice in the second, was replaced by Devers.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (7-11, 5.32 ERA) starts Friday for Toronto in the first of three games at Yankee Stadium.

Red Sox: RHP Hector Velazquez (7-2, 3.29) gets the ball when Boston opens a three-game series at home against the New York Mets.

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Red Sox reach 100 wins for 1st time since '46, beat Blue Jays, 1-0

Red Sox reach 100 wins for 1st time since '46, beat Blue Jays, 1-0

BOSTON -- The scoreboards at Fenway Park were all flashing "100 WINS" to celebrate the Red Sox reaching the milestone for the first time since Ted Williams returned from World War II.

David Price was already thinking about No. 101.

"That's what we've done all year," Price said on Wednesday night after pitching seven innings of three-hit ball to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 1-0. "That's why we have 100 wins right now."

Price (15-6) struck out seven to win his sixth straight decision, leaving after 92 pitches with a lead earned when Rafael Devers scampered home on a wild pitch by Aaron Sanchez (4-6) in the fifth inning. The Red Sox left-hander is unbeaten in 11 starts and is 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break.

Steven Wright pitched the eighth and Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his 39th save, and Boston's magic number for clinching the AL East dropped to seven over the second-place New York Yankees.

"Don't get me wrong; 100 is 100. But we've got bigger goals, obviously," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "Today we got closer to one of those goals."

A night after becoming the first major league team this year to clinch a playoff spot, Boston won for the 10th time in 14 games and moved a season-high 54 games above .500 for the first time since the 1946 team of Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio went 104-50.

The Red Sox need only to go 6-10 the rest of the season to break the franchise record of 105 wins, set in 1912. Boston also won 101 games in 1915.

"Somebody just told me it's been done three times here and the last one was 70-something years ago," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "I think that speaks for itself."

BLUE BLUE JAYS

Sanchez allowed three hits and struck out six, allowing the game's only run after Moreland walked to lead off the fifth. Devers reached on a fielder's choice and took third when Brock Holt poked a single through the hole at shortstop on a hit-and-run.

Sanchez bounced a 2-2 pitch to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the dirt and past catcher Danny Jansen to the backstop, allowing Devers to score.

"I love Price. I keep in touch with Price even to this day," said Sanchez, who was teammates with Price in Toronto in 2015. "To go out there and match what he's doing. ... Just to go out there and have a special night like that was fun. It's unfortunate they scored the way they did and we lost the way we did."

Toronto fell to 1-8 at Fenway Park this year and dropped to a season-worst 15 games below .500.

DOUBLE DUTY

Rowdy Tellez has seven doubles in his first seven games, the most for any player in the majors since 1908. Jonathan Davis had his first major league hit for Toronto, which hasn't won back-to-back games since Aug. 24-25.

CENTURY CLUB

Cora is the first manager with 100 wins in his first season with a club since Felipe Alou with the 2003 San Francisco Giants and the first in his initial season as a big league manager since Dusty Baker with the 1993 Giants.

FOR SALE

Cora said Chris Sale, who returned to the mound on Tuesday night for the first time since Aug. 12, did not report any issues with his left shoulder. Sale was scheduled to play catch on Wednesday and throw a bullpen session on Friday. The plan is for him to pitch three innings against the New York Mets.

"He's encouraged," Cora said. "Yesterday was like his first big league outing. He was all over the plate. He admitted it - the game sped up on him."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 3 because of a blister on his right index finger, may be done for the year, manager John Gibbons said.

Red Sox: RHP Matt Barnes who hasn't pitched since Sept. 4 because of left hip inflammation, played catch on Monday and Tuesday, and he was scheduled to do so again on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-8) pitches the series finale on Thursday night.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4) takes the mound for Boston.

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Red Sox become first team in majors to clinch playoff spot

Red Sox become first team in majors to clinch playoff spot

BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox have become the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this season.

Boston beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, boosted by pinch-hitter Brock Holt's go-ahead home run in the seventh inning.

Guided by rookie manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox have the best record in baseball at 99-46. They assured themselves at least a spot in the AL wild-card game while reaching the postseason for the third straight year.

The AL East-leading Red Sox began the night with an eight-game lead over the New York Yankees.

Boston starter Chris Sale came off the disabled list and pitched one scoreless inning, striking out two. Sale has been slowed by inflammation in his left shoulder, and the Red Sox had said they would ease their ace back into action.

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