The Canadian Press
TORONTO–September can’t come soon enough for the Blue Jays’ bullpen.
Toronto relievers surrendered four earned runs on five hits last night, including a two-run homer to Christian Vazquez, as the Boston Red Sox edged the Jays 6-5.
Manager John Gibbons said his ‘pen has been taxed and will benefit from next month’s call-ups.
“I know they’ve been working hard. Sooner or later it catches up with you,” he noted.
“[With] Danny Barnes, it was coming out good, he left the ball up, and Vazquez hits the home run.
“[Ryan] Tepera walked the guy on four-straight, you usually don’t see that too often.
“Major-league season, that one extra month is a long year,” added Gibbons. “We can expand in September, we can bring some more arms, and we don’t have to use them all the time.
“That should help.”
Vazquez hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Red Sox snapped a four-game losing streak.
Eduardo Nunez also homered for Boston (74-57), while Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland had an RBI apiece, as the Red Sox extended their division lead to 3.5 games over the N.Y. Yankees.
“Always with two strikes, they pitch me up and in. I was looking for that,” said Vazquez.
“We needed that win to break the losing streak.
“We’re back,” he added. “It’s fun to enjoy the game and get a couple of hits, and win the game.”
Justin Smoak’s two-run home run in the ninth off closer Craig Kimbrel pulled the Jays (61-70) to within one but the comeback stopped there.
Kendrys Morales had two RBIs and Ryan Goins drove in one.
Toronto now has dropped eight of its last 10.
Drew Pomeranz (14-4) went six innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits while walking five and striking out four.
Kimbrel picked up his 30th save of the season.
Vazquez finished the game with four hits. He gave Boston a 4-3 lead–its first lead of the night–by putting Barnes’ fastball into the second deck for a two-run homer.
The Red Sox then took a 5-3 lead on Moreland’s RBI single.
“He has come up big. He’s swinging the bat really well,” manager John Farrell said of Vazquez.
“Big night offensively for Christian.
“Particularly after the four games we were coming off, to get back in the win column is big,” Farrell added.
“That might have been the toughest four-game stretch we’ve had this season.”
Boston took a 6-3 lead when Tepera issued a bases-loaded walk to Bogaerts.
Barnes (2-5) pitched 1/3 of an inning and was charged with three earned runs on two hits.
Marcus Stroman went six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out four in the no-decision.
Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run double from Morales.
Boston responded with two out in the second when Hanley Ramirez doubled on a fly ball to left, which Steve Pearce appeared to lose in the lights.
Vazquez followed with a single and stole second base, with Ramirez scoring when Raffy Lopez’s pick-off attempt wound up in centrefield.
Nunez’s lead-off home run in the third tied the game at 2-2.
Toronto retook the lead in the fourth on a Goins RBI single.
Pillar showed off his range in centrefield in the sixth, tracking down a Mookie Betts liner and making a highlight-reel, leaping grab while sliding into the wall to rob the Red Sox right-fielder of extra bases.
According to Statcast, Pillar travelled 82 feet in 4.6 seconds to make the catch.
“I told him I think that’s the best one I’ve seen live,” Stroman said of Pillar’s play.
“I feel like I’m always on the mound, too.
“The way he goes back on balls is extremely special,” Stroman added.
“He has to get a Gold Glove at some point.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Baltimore topped Seattle 7-6, Cleveland beat New York 6-2, Tampa Bay bombed Kansas City 12-0, and L.A. downed Oakland 3-1.
Over in the NL, Washington dumped Miami 11-2, Philadelphia beat Atlanta 6-1, Chicago downed Pittsburgh 6-1, and San Francisco blanked San Diego 3-0.
Detroit edged Colorado 4-3 in interleague play.