BOSTON (AP) — Rafael Devers’ game-winning hit in the ninth inning that gave the Boston Red Sox their first home victory of the season was never in doubt.
The same can’t be said of Ted Williams’ claim to the longest homer in Fenway Park history.
Devers hit an high-bouncing RBI single with one out in the ninth and the struggling Boston Red Sox rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.
The Inning: Bottom 9
The Score: Tied
The Bases: Loaded
The Result: pic.twitter.com/lrRneiCGim
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 12, 2019
The win came in a game in which Williams’ historic 502-foot home run was seemingly challenged by a Blue Jays homer.
It was Devers’ first career walk-off RBI. After Devers reached first base, he was chased into shallow right field by his teammates who jumped on him, pummeling him with playful jabs.
This is who we are. pic.twitter.com/cTRSkvm3l4
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 12, 2019
“Obviously it hasn’t gone quite our way this year,” Mitch Moreland said. “But we’ve got a great team. We just gotta keep grinding them out.”
Marcus Walden pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his second victory of the season.
The loss went to Ken Giles (0-1), who gave up two runs, two hits and walked three in the ninth, ending his streak of 34 consecutive converted save opportunities dating to Sept. 12, 2017. It was the longest active streak in the majors.
The Blue Jays took a 5-0 lead in the third inning with a pair of home runs off Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi.
The Red Sox battled back and tied the game when Moreland homered in the seventh. After Freddy Galvis put Toronto back in front with a solo home run in the eighth as part of a four-hit night, Moreland tied it again in the ninth with a one-out double that scored Mookie Betts.
Giles intentionally walked J.D. Martinez. Then, pinch runner Eduardo Nunez stole third, putting runners at the corners. Xander Bogaerts walked to load the bases, setting up Devers’ hit.
Justin Smoak got the scoring going for Toronto. With two on in the third, he roped Eovaldi’s two-out, 99 mph fastball over the center field wall. Then, after Randal Grichuk walked, Rowdy Tellez hit an Eovaldi cutter that landed deep in the right field bleachers.
🚨 SMOAK ALERT 🚨
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 12, 2019
The homer was initially measured by Statcast at 505 feet, making it the longest home run in Fenway Park history, 3-feet beyond than the homer by Williams in 1946. The landing spot for that one is marked with a special red seat.
But the ball seemed to land a few rows short of Williams’ famed round-tripper. A message left with Major League Baseball seeking clarification was not immediately returned. The 505-foot distance originally posted for the Tellez homer was later taken off Statcast’s website.
“It’s the only home run I’ve ever hit in Fenway, so I’d probably say it’s the deepest here,” Tellez said. “Probably say all around the furthest home run I hit in the big leagues.”
Tellez said he’s taking nothing from his short-lived spot in the park’s history books, though.
“Absolutely nothing,” he said. “It’s a home run. All it had to go is 381 feet over the fence. It’s a cool little stat, but it’s a tough loss so we’re more focused on that.”
Red Sox: Left-hander Brian Johnson (left elbow inflammation) continues to receive treatment, but currently is being restricted from all baseball activities. OF/INF Brock Holt saw a doctor for the scratched cornea in his right eye on Tuesday.
SALE TO REST, FACE YANKEES
Manager Alex Cora said he is pushing back ace Chris Sale’s next scheduled start on Monday in what would be the series finale against the Orioles. Sale instead will get two extra days of rest and is expected to be on the mound Tuesday when the Red Sox visit the Yankees.
SALUTE TO BUCHHOLZ
The Red Sox played a tribute video for Blue Jays pitcher Clay Buchholz between the first and second inning. Selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the 2005 draft, the right-hander spent the first 10 major league seasons in Boston, winning World Series rings in 2007 and 2013. He also tossed a no-hitter against the Orioles in his second career start in 2007.
Blue Jays: Trent Thornton (0-0, 1.69 ERA) will start Friday when Toronto returns home to host the Rays. He has a team record 15 strikeouts through his first two major league games.
Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez (0-2, 12.38 ERA) is set to start Friday as Boston opens a four-game series with Baltimore. Rodriguez has a 6-5 record and 3.74 ERA in 15 career outings against the Orioles at Fenway.
AP freelancer Gethin Coolbaugh contributed to this story.