Russell Martin played hero for the second straight day as the Blue Jays defeated the Red Sox 5-4 in 11 innings this afternoon at Fenway Park in Boston. Toronto extended their winning streak to 10 games in the process while Boston have now lost five in a row.
Flipping the script from last night, the Blue Jays grabbed an early 4-0 lead against Clay Buchholz with three runs in the top of the third inning and one in the fourth. The Red Sox quickly battled back against R.A. Dickey with three in the fourth inning and a game-tying solo homer from David Ortiz in the sixth.
The game remained tied until Martin hit a long go-ahead solo homer off Matt Barnes in the top of the 11th. You can watch the home run here. Brett Cecil sat down the Red Sox in order in the bottom of the 11th for his second save in as many days.
Thanks to their recent surge, the Blue Jays are 33-30 on the year and sit just 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees for first place in the American League East. They are riding their longest winning streak since they won 11 straight in 2013.
With the Athletics looking like one of the few obvious sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, reliever Tyler Clippard figures to be a popular name. One surging team in the AL East has already reached out to express interest in a deal:
The Blue Jays were reportedly interested in Clippard over the winter, so it’s easy to understand why they are revisiting the possibility. The 30-year-old has functioned as Oakland’s closer this season, posting a 3.20 ERA and 22/13 K/BB ratio over 25 1/3 inning while going 9-for-11 in save opportunities. He’s making $8.3 million this season and will be a free agent this winter.
Brett Cecil is Toronto’s closer right now, but they haven’t needed him much in that capacity recently. He notched his first save since May 4 last night.
Make that nine wins in a row for the Blue Jays, who put together a huge comeback in a 13-10 victory over the Red Sox last night at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox jumped all over Drew Hutchison early, so they had an 8-1 lead in the third inning, but the Blue Jays scored three runs off Joe Kelly in the fifth inning before this happened in the seventh. Warning: This image contains graphic material that some may find offensive:
Yikes. The first nine hitters all reached base in the seventh and all of them eventually came around to score. The big blow was a go-ahead bases-clearing triple off the bat of Russell Martin, but Justin Smoak followed with a two-run home run.
The Red Sox threatened in the eighth and ninth, but the Blue Jays hung on and Brett Cecil got his first save since May 4. Not only was it Cecil’s first save since May 4, but it was Toronto’s first, as well. That means the team went 34 games without a save. According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, that’s the longest streak since the Orioles went 36 games without a save in 2002.
With nine straight wins, the Blue Jays sit at 32-30 on the year, just two games back of the Yankees in the American League East. As for the Red Sox, the ugliness continues. They have lost four straight to fall to 27-35. Only the Athletics have a worse record in the American League.
Your Friday box scores and AP recaps:
Reds 5, Cubs 4 (11 innings)
Yankees 3, Orioles 11
Indians 0, Tigers 4
Braves 3, Mets 5
Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 10
Phillies 0, Pirates 1 (13 innings)
White Sox 5, Rays 7
Rockies 1, Marlins 5
Twins 2, Rangers 6
Nationals 4, Brewers 8
Royals 0, Cardinals 4
Mariners 0, Astros 10
Dodgers 4, Padres 3
Athletics 4, Angels 5
Diamondbacks 1, Giants 0
Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak hit an RBI triple in the second inning of Friday night’s game against the Red Sox, chipping into what was a five-run deficit. The 28-year-old, a veteran of six seasons in the majors, hadn’t hit a triple in his career spanning 2,316 plate appearances entering the game. That was a record until it was snapped.
As our own Matthew Pouliot noted on Twitter, Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo now has the most plate appearances without a triple.
On the triple, Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts slammed face-first into the center field wall at Fenway Park. He stayed in the game initially but exited after two innings with a sprained lower back, per ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes.
Dayan Viciedo has been out of work since being released by the White Sox in February and the Blue Jays in March, but Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports that the 26-year-old outfielder has signed a minor-league deal with the A’s.
Viciedo has 25-homer power, but his plate discipline and defense are awful and his overall production has been mediocre at best with a .254 batting average and .722 OPS in 483 career games.
He has good career numbers versus left-handed pitching, so if Viciedo puts together a good stretch at Triple-A the A’s could find a role for him as a platoon player.