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Red Sox come back for 4-3 win over Blue Jays

TORONTO – Tyler O’Neill homered and Ceddanne Rafaela drove in David Hamilton with the go-ahead run in Boston’s two-run eighth inning as the Red Sox came back for a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

O’Neill led off the frame with a 408-foot blast off left-hander Brendon Little to straightaway centre field.

Rafaela lashed a two-out single off right-hander Chad Green that deflected off shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s glove and bounced into left field. That allowed the speedy pinch-runner Hamilton to score from second base.

Reliever Zack Kelly (1-1) worked 1 1/3 innings for the win and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a clean ninth for his 13th save.

Boston (39-35) has won four games in a row. The Red Sox outhit Toronto 12-7.

Justin Turner scored twice and Chris Bassitt made a quality start for the Blue Jays (35-38), who will look to avoid a sweep in the three-game series finale on Wednesday.

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Leadoff hitter Spencer Horwitz started Toronto on the right foot by golfing a pitch from Boston starter Tanner Houck that just missed clearing the wall in left-centre field. Houck kept him at second base by retiring the next three batters in order.

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Boston also led off with a double in the second inning as O’Neill, from Burnaby, B.C., lashed a ball into the left-field corner. He scored on a two-out single by Dominic Smith.

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Toronto threatened again in the bottom half and this time delivered. Turner and Addison Barger hit back-to-back singles and scored on Ernie Clement’s double.

Davis Schneider took advantage of the minimized foul territory area in the fifth inning when he curled a ball inside the third-base line. It hit the padded wall that’s much closer to the line after the stadium renovations in the off-season.

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The ball bounced back toward the infield and Rafaela bobbled it to prevent a close play at second base. Schneider was left stranded when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded out.

Boston pulled even in the sixth inning when Rafael Devers doubled and scored on Masataka Yoshida’s single up the middle.

Kiner-Falefa helped Toronto take the lead when he took advantage of first baseman Dominic Smith playing well off the bag. A roller inside the line brought home Turner from second base.

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That ended Houck’s appearance at 5 2/3 innings and 103 pitches.

The right-hander started the day with the fourth-best ERA in the major leagues at 2.08, but the three earned runs bumped that up to 2.23. He allowed seven hits, two walks and had five strikeouts.

Bassitt allowed seven hits and two walks over six innings. He had six strikeouts.

The Blue Jays survived a nervous seventh inning after Nate Pearson gave up a double to Rafaela and single to Jarren Duran that put runners on the corners. The right-hander got the next two outs before Little (0-1) came on to strike out Devers.

O’Neill, who hit two homers in the series opener Monday, leads the Red Sox with 15 homers this season.

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The game took two hours 56 minutes to play.

OIL COUNTRY

The near-sellout crowd of 38,595 at Rogers Centre let out a roar when the video screen showed the Edmonton Oilers had a 3-0 lead on the Florida Panthers in the second period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final.

Oilers superstar forward Connor McDavid grew up in Newmarket, Ont., about 50 kilometres north of downtown Toronto.

INJURED LIST

Before the game, the Blue Jays placed shortstop Bo Bichette on the 10-day injured list with a right calf strain. The move was retroactive to Saturday.

The Blue Jays also recalled infielder Orelvis Martinez — the team’s second-ranked prospect — from Triple-A Buffalo.

COMING UP

Kevin Gausman (5-5, 4.08) was scheduled to start the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday night against fellow right-hander Brayan Bello (6-4, 5.00).

Both teams have an off-day Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2024.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.

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&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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