BOSTON (AP) — Alex Verdugo hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox rallied late for the second straight game, beating Toronto 5-4 on Monday night in the opener of an important series for the Blue Jays.
Boston star Rafael Devers added a solo homer on the four-year anniversary of his first major-league shot.
Bo Bichette hit a two-run homer for fourth-place Toronto, which fell to 10½ games behind in the East.
A day after being no-hit for seven innings by New York’s Domingo Germán before putting up five runs in the eighth to erase a four-run deficit and beat the rival Yankees, Boston’s bats were held down until Verdugo belted his drive over the Red Sox bullpen off Trevor Richards (1-1).
He took his time rounding the bases, enjoying the moment. On Sunday, Verdugo broke up the no-hitter with a deep double to right.
Adam Ottavino (3-3) worked a scoreless inning for the win. Matt Barnes got the final three outs for his 22nd save.
Bichette hit his drive over the Green Monster off Nick Pivetta, a shot that hit a wall behind the first row and bounced back onto the field to make it 4-3.
Devers’ shot into the right-field seats made it 3-2.
Toronto starter Thomas Hatch made just his second big-league start after being sidelined with a shoulder impingement since spring training. The 26-year-old right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Pivetta gave up four runs on six hits before being pulled after Bichette’s homer.
WHO’LL HIT MORE THIS TIME
In their last trip to Fenway Park, the Blue Jays sent 11 homers over the Monster and hit 15 total, eight coming in one game, the most ever allowed by the Red Sox in Fenway during a four-game series split.
Boston belted 11 in a two-game sweep in Buffalo last week.
LHP Chris Sale, working back from Tommy John surgery, is expected to make his fourth rehab start on Saturday. This one is scheduled with Triple-A Worcester after he did two at Double-A Portland and the other with their rookie-level team in Fort Myers, Florida.
Manager Alex Cora said this won’t be his last rehab, despite Sale feeling good.
“It’s not gonna be his last start on Saturday,” he said. “He won’t be with us after that.”
Blue Jays: Manager Charlie Montoyo said OF Corey Dickerson, who missed his 20th straight game with a left foot contusion, might begin a rehab assignment soon.
Red Sox: Cora gave SS Xander Bogaerts the day off and is planning to give 3B Rafael Devers Thursday off.
Blue Jays: LHP Robbie Ray (8-5, 3.12 ERA) is slated to start Tuesday’s second game of the four-game series.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Richards (6-5, 4.99) is scheduled to start. He’s gone five or more innings in 13 of his last 15 starts.