Catcher Danny Jansen was a triple short of hitting for the cycle to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 10-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday’s win moved Toronto closer to home-field advantage in the first round of the American League playoffs. Tampa Bay and Seattle are also vying for top spot in the wild card race.
Teoscar Hernandez had a solo homer and a late RBI double while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. added an RBI double in the win. All-star shortstop Bo Bichette, who set a club record with 48 hits in September, kept his torrid pace with four hits.
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Ross Stripling (10-4) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out three. Anthony Bass, David Phelps, Jordan Romano of Markham, Ont., and Adam Cimber came out of the bullpen to secure the victory.
Brayan Bello (2-8) gave up four runs on 10 hits and two walks, striking out four, over four innings Boston (75-83). Zack Kelly and Josh Winckowski came on in relief.
Jansen struck again the next inning, sending a double down the first-base line to score Hernandez and Tapia.
Hernandez tacked on another run in the fifth, driving an 81.4 m.p.h. Kelly change-up to deep centre field for his 23rd home run of the season. After Tapia struck out Jansen came to the plate, and hit his homer.
Jansen’s 15th of the season came on the first pitch he saw in the inning, an 86.2 m.p.h. slider from Kelly that he sent 342 feet into the Blue Jays dugout for a 6-0 lead.
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George Springer and Bichette had consecutive singles to bring Guerrero to the plate, with his ground-rule double scoring Springer for another run before the fifth was over.
Otto Lopez pinch hit for Bichette in the seventh, stroking a single up the middle. The sold-out crowd of 44,612 at Rogers Centre gave him a rousing ovation for the first-ever hit of his Major League Baseball career, and he put his hands on his heart and pointed to the sky to thank them.
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The Blue Jays didn’t let up in the eighth.
Hernandez’s double drove in Gabriel Moreno and then Tapia singled in Matt Chapman to once again bring Jansen to the plate. Although the Jays catcher didn’t get a triple, he did send a sacrifice fly to deep right field to score Hernandez for his fifth RBI of the game.
Interim Blue Jays manager John Schneider said that second baseman Santiago Espinal (oblique) and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (hamstring) were making progress in their recovery. Schneider said that Espinal’s timeline has sped up and that he may see some action as the Blue Jays finish their regular season with a three-game series in Baltimore.