July 20th, 2024

Valdez and Duran power Red Sox to 7-3 win over Blue Jays to complete three-game sweep

By Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press on June 19, 2024.

Boston Red Sox's Romy Gonzalez (right) scores as Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (9) looks for the ball during third inning American League MLB baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – Enmanuel Valdez and Jarren Duran hit solo homers to power the Boston Red Sox to a 7-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

Brayan Bello allowed two earned runs over six innings to help Boston (40-35) win its fifth in a row. The Red Sox have won eight of their last 10 games.

Addison Barger and Justin Turner had two hits and one run apiece for the Blue Jays (35-39), who suffered their first three-game sweep of the season.

Toronto made four errors and was just 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Boston took advantage of some sloppy defence behind Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman to open the scoring in the third.

Barger booted a routine grounder at third base to allow Romy Gonzalez to reach. Gonzalez stole second and scored on David Hamilton’s single.

Centre-fielder Kevin Kiermaier’s throw home on the play was well wide of the plate, bouncing on the turf before hitting Gonzalez as he was about to slide. Hamilton took third on the throwing error but was stranded when Rafael Devers grounded out.

Toronto put runners on first and second base in each of the first three innings but Bello (7-4) escaped each time.

Valdez made it 2-0 in the fourth inning with his sixth home run of the year.

Toronto answered in the bottom half with three straight hits. Kiermaier ended the Blue Jays’ run of missed opportunities with a single that scored Barger.

Kiermaier stole second and Spencer Horwitz walked to load the bases for Turner, who hit into a double-play that brought Isiah Kiner-Falefa home with the tying run.

Duran put the Red Sox back in front in the fifth inning with a 433-foot solo blast that landed in the standing-room section above the wall in centre field.

Kiermaier made a highlight-reel catch on a Dominic Smith drive to the wall to keep it a one-run game in the sixth. Masataka Yoshida took third on the sacrifice fly and scored on an infield single by Gonzalez.

Left-hander Tim Mayza relieved Gausman and gave up a single to Duran that brought home Valdez. Gausman (5-6) allowed four earned runs, six hits and three walks to go with four strikeouts.

Toronto made it a two-run game when Turner scored from third base on a wild pitch by Justin Slaten. But the Red Sox replied with two runs in the eighth inning en route to their fourth road sweep of the season.

Announced attendance was 38,906 and the game took two hours 54 minutes to play.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

A moment of silence was observed before the game in honour of baseball legend Willie Mays, who died Tuesday at age 93.

A 24-time all-star, Mays hit 660 home runs over his career and won 12 Gold Glove awards.

Y-ROD RETURN

Right-hander Yariel Rodriguez is expected to make his return to Toronto’s starting rotation on Friday against the Cleveland Guardians.

He went on the injured list April 30 with thoracic spine inflammation. Rodriguez recently completed a rehab assignment with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

FREE AGENT

Designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach cleared unconditional waivers on Wednesday and is now a free agent, the Blue Jays said.

Vogelbach was released Tuesday after being designated for assignment last week. He hit .186 with one homer and eight RBIs over 31 games with Toronto.

COMING UP

Both the Blue Jays and Red Sox will have an off-day Thursday. Toronto kicks off a six-game road swing in Cleveland on Friday. Boston will continue its road trip with a weekend series at Cincinnati.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 19, 2024.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.

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