Five Toronto pitchers combined on a four-hitter and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. scored the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning on a groundout, lifting the Blue Jays over the Boston Red Sox 2-1 on Saturday night.
Anthony Kay (1-0) pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Anthony Bass picked up his third save.
Blue Jays starter Chase Anderson pitched three innings in his Toronto debut after beginning the season on the injured list because of an oblique strain. He worked off a pitch limit and gave up just one hit and one run.
“As a whole, our guys are understanding that we have what it takes,” Anderson said. “We’ve got a team that can score a lot of runs and we’ve got guys who don’t give up runs in the bullpen and rotation.”
Guerrero Jr. says Jays have been staying positive during slump
Gurriel drew a leadoff walk in the eighth from Marcus Walden (0-1), moved to third on Randal Grichuk’s one-out single and scored on a soft grounder by Rowdy Tellez to second baseman Jose Peraza, who was playing deep and didn’t have time to turn a double play.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who had two hits, said he feels like they are grinding through their uneven schedule and being away from home.
“We’re very positive about the entire situation,” he said. “We’re very close, staying positive and just go out there from the first inning and win the game somehow.”
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Christian Vazquez in the second.
Boston starter Zack Godley pitched four scoreless innings, yielding three hits and two walks and striking out three.
Relievers Josh Osich and Phillips Valdez both pitched scoreless innings, but Heath Hembree gave up an RBI double to Toronto’s Bo Bichette in the seventh that tied the game.
Boston right fielder Kevin Pillar made two key plays to stop Toronto.
With two on and two outs in the sixth, Pillar threw out Travis Shaw at the plate as he tried to score from second off Guerrero’s single.
In the seventh, Tellez hit a line drive toward the right field pole, but Pillar made the catch before slamming into the wall.
Prior to Friday’s series-opening win, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke acknowledged that he was considering moving Alex Verdugo up to the leadoff spot. He made that change Saturday with Verdugo taking the place at the top of the order from Andrew Benintendi, who entered Saturday’s game hitting just .061 (2 for 33) with one RBI. Benintendi dropped to seventh in the order.
But a night after hitting a pair of home runs, Verdugo went 1 for 4.
Roenicke hoped that moving Benintendi down would help to relax him a little.
Benintendi grounded out before being replaced in the fourth by Pillar. Benintendi did contribute in the field, though, robbing Guerrero of a hit in the second when he dove to snare a line drive to left field.
Pillar said he isn’t worried about Benintendi (2 for 34 on the season) or Rafael Devers (0 for 4 Saturday and 9 for 53 on the season) finding a groove.
“It’s only a matter of time for these guys to find it. It only takes one swing,” Pillar said