Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (May 18, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
No Mookie Betts, no problem. The Sox took on the Blue Jays for the second straight game without their superstar, and once again, the Sox emerged victoriously. The Boston Red Sox beat Toronto Blue Jays, 8-3, thanks to an explosion of early offense and a strong outing by Rick Porcello.
Boston Red Sox Beat Toronto Blue Jays, 8-3
The Boston Red Sox offense got to work right away. Despite missing leadoff man Mookie Betts, the Red Sox offense managed to get some runs on the board in the first inning. After Xander Bogaerts hit a Fenway single off the Green Monster, new starting first baseman Mitch Moreland launched a double down the right-field line, scoring Bogaerts. Superstar slugger J.D. Martinez followed that up with a double of his own, driving in Moreland to make it a 2-0 game after one inning.
The Red Sox continued to add to their lead in the bottom of the second. Sandy Leon started off the fun with a double to right before Andrew Benintendi continued to do his thing. Going the opposite way, Benintendi ripped a double off the Green Monster, bringing Leon home to take a 3-0 lead.
Porcello silenced the Blue Jays in the first three innings but fell into some trouble in the fourth. Facing the first baseman Justin Smoak, Porcello allowed a deep home run over the visitor’s bullpen in right center. It was Smoak’s fourth career home run against Porcello, and it cut the Red Sox lead to 3-1.
The Sox would answer in the bottom of the fourth. Following a Brock Holt single and stolen base, Jackie Bradley Jr. continued his reconnaissance. Bradley took an off-speed pitch off the outside corner to the opposite field for a single, bringing in Holt to make it 4-1. Bradley’s single extended his hitting streak to four games, while he also chased Estrada from the game.
The Sox got on the board again in one of the weirder plays you’ll ever see. With runners on first and third, Sandy Leon drove in a run on an infield double. No, that’s not a typo. Leon hit a chopper between the pitcher and the first baseman, and reliever Joe Biagini tipped the ball with his glove. The ball ricocheted past second baseman Devon Travis, and with nobody to get the ball, Leon advanced to second. The play was ruled a clean double, so good for Sandy!
Porcello had a relatively easy run through the first six innings but fell into some trouble in the seventh. After leading off the inning with an easy flyout, Porcello allowed two singles and a hit batter to load the bases with one out. After striking out catcher Luke Maile, Curtis Granderson stepped into the box, looking to do some damage.
Granderson hit a hard shot just past the diving glove of Mitch Moreland. Fortunately, Dustin Pedroia was behind him, dove, and threw to Porcello at first. While it wasn’t an easy play by any means, the throw bounced off Porcello’s glove, allowing two runs to score. Porcello’s night would end with the error, as Joe Kelly entered the game with runners on second and third. Kelly got out of the jam in three pitches, effortlessly striking out Kevin Pillar. Still, the Jays put two runs on the board, and the Sox led 5-3.
As was the trend throughout the day, the Red Sox answered the Blue Jays offense. Xander Bogaerts led off the bottom of the seventh with a bomb over the Green Monster. His eighth home run of the season gave the Sox a 6-3 lead.
Kelly took care of business in the eighth, and the Blue Jays once again made the mistake of pitching to Sandy Leon. Leon took a low fastball and pummeled the offering, blasting the ball into the Red Sox bullpen. It was the third extra-base hit of the night for Leon, and it gave the Red Sox an 8-3 lead.
Hector Velazquez came in for the ninth and made it interesting, loading the bases and recording just one out. However, Craig Kimbrel came in to save the day. Kimbrel retired both batters he faced, the the Red Sox improved to 21 games above 500. The Red Sox face the Blue Jays tomorrow in the series finale.