Blue Jays rally in ninth inning to trim Red Sox

TORONTO — Shortly after an emotional Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hurled his walk-off single through the left side of the infield, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger punched him in the chest.

“This is our house,” Guerrero exclaimed after his teammate George Springer came home with the triumphant march to a wild 6-5 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

It was the Blue Jays’ (42-32) second straight win to start their three-game set against rival Red Sox (42-33) and edged out Toronto in contention for the first wildcard spot at the American Boston By League.

But before the Blue Jays got past a 5-4 deficit in the ninth inning ahead of 27,140 in their “house,” the Rogers center, second baseman Santiago Espinal and catcher Alejandro Kirk delivered to provide the spark.

Espinal made a jumping catch from a Christian Arroyo line drive and doubled up to Christian Vazquez on second base. Standout defensive play stifled a Red Sox rally in the eighth inning.

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Kirk had the night off. At least he thought he did. But Major League Baseball’s top catcher with a .325 average was called upon to hit and lead the ninth inning.

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He slammed a single into left field. Guerrero, who was set to score the fourth in the inning, had already told Toronto coach Charlie Montoyo that if he got promoted it would be game over.

“You know Charlie, he gets nervous,” Guerrero said through an interpreter when asked about his manager’s reaction. “‘Well,’ he said. ‘I trust you when you say that.’”

The single was Guerrero’s second walk-off hit of his career and second in two weeks.

“When I saw that[Kirk]was going to pinch and then get a base hit, I knew right there and then we were going to win,” Guerrero said.

Kirk leads his position in the AL voting for next month’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium with 1,857,670 votes. New York Yankees catcher Jose Trevino is in second place with 695,932.

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The Blue Jays are in a busy part of their schedule and are home to two games in a seven-day, eight-game stint. Still, Montoyo finds it hard to leave Kirk on the bench for rookie Gabriel Moreno.

“We have so many games in a row that the boys will have nights off,” said Montoyo. “We have to do it.

“The good thing about our team is that we have three good catchers when Danny Jansen comes back (from a broken pinky). I am lucky.”

The Blue Jays took a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a brace from Teoscar Hernandez and Matt Chapman.

They led 4-2 after starter Ross Stripling put on another solid five-inning performance and allowed just two five-hit runs.

He was in the clubhouse enjoying his 11th straight appearance with two runs or fewer when the Red Sox tied the game in the seventh with a two-run homer by Rob Refsnyder straight into midfield.

They then went ahead in eighth, thanks to a Vazquez singles left to score shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

But Stripling relied on his teammates in the ninth inning after Jordan Romano (2-1) held off the Red Sox at the top of the ninth.

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“We couldn’t have been in a better place in our lineup, especially with Kirk as our superweapon,” Stripling said.

After his first single, Tyler Danish (2-1) of Boston defeated George Springer, Bichette then hit with a single to tie and Guerrero delivered.

BULLP RELIEF

The Blue Jays could sign 39-year-old right-hander Sergio Romo as early as Wednesday. He applied for a spot in Toronto’s Auxiliary Corps with a bullpen session on Tuesday and was scheduled to undergo a physical Tuesday night.

The three-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants became a free agent after being released by the Seattle Mariners last week.

COMING UP

Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah (9-2, 2.05) is expected to start Wednesday’s final against Canada’s Nick Pivetta (8-5, 3.25). 29-year-old Pivetta is from Victoria.

Toronto opens a four-day, five-game Canada Day Weekend series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 28, 2022

© 2022 The Canadian Press

https://globalnews.ca/news/8955101/blue-jays-rally-in-ninth-inning-to-clip-red-sox/ Blue Jays rally in ninth inning to trim Red Sox

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